Book Club: St. Albert students share love of reading with peers

Click to play video: 'St. Albert students give back with ‘Make Your Mark’ book initiative'
St. Albert students give back with ‘Make Your Mark’ book initiative
WATCH: A group of students from St. Albert is learning about the power of reading and giving back through the 'Dentons Make Your Mark' program. Community reporter Morgan Black has more on a lesson taught outside of the classroom – Mar 4, 2020

St. Albert students are giving back to the community using the power of literacy.

Keenooshayo Elementary School students picked out books they had researched beforehand, assembled packages and then delivered the books to students in need in the Edmonton area.

“We walked to Chapters and we determined a budget for the books. I think I prefer books to movies,” said Grade 6 student Lily Christie.

“Our project is called ‘Create a Ripple: Literacy for All,'” assistant principal Adam Rurka said.

“It’s a project designed to empower students and teach them a little about poverty along the way. Literacy is an important way of breaking the cycle of poverty. If you can’t read or write you have a difficult time overcoming that.”

Keenooshayo Elementary School students picking out books for their project. Courtesy: Adam Rurka

Christie said she had fun picking out some of her favourite books to gift to other kids.

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“I like books because they teach me about adventure and life lessons. I thought of which books I liked… Those are the ones I picked.”

Rurka said this has been a great learning experience for students.

“It’s not always obvious where there is need. You walk into the school [the students travelled to], it’s a big building. The building looks very normal, but there still could be need within that building.”

The packages were delivered personally by the students.

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“We got on a bus and we took the books to a school with less books than us,” said Christie.

“You couldn’t really tell [the students were any different from us], but a lot of the time when people are living in poverty you can’t tell.”
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“It makes me feel really happy that other kids are getting books to read from us,” said Grade 5 student Adam Timmons.

Click to play video: 'Edmonton school set to host “PoverTEES” fashion show to take action against poverty'
Edmonton school set to host “PoverTEES” fashion show to take action against poverty

Funding for the project is part of a grant from United Way’s Dentons Make Your Mark On Poverty, which supports student-led projects that take action against local poverty.

“We were a good fit for this project because we’re always looking for ways students can get involved by taking action,” Rurka said.

“It’s not fair that we would get all the things we like,”Christie said. “[All kids] should be able to have those things too.”

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