VERNON — Walk in to any Barnes & Noble bookstore, and you'll see at least 10,000 books stacked on the shelves. Now take that picture and transfer it to the hallways of the primary schools in Vernon Township.
Over the past 10 years, the K-4 students have read more than 10,000 books as part of the Mind Travelers program.
This school year has been no exception, as students read more than 1,000 books during November and December of 2013. Two random students from each grade at each school were given awards and of course, books, as part of an awards program held at the Vernon Township Board of Education meeting last Thursday.
Started in 2004 to encourage reading at the primary levels, and set a pattern of joy in reading, the Mind Traveler's program asks students to keep track of the books they read in November and December. Those two months are short of days in school terms — with holidays, teacher's convention and teacher conferences — so the program encourages using that extra time at home for reading.
The program had its roots in another program, the Mind Traveler's Library Fund, which raises money to buy books for the libraries.
“The idea of Mind Travelers [so named because books can take you anywhere in the world and beyond just by reading them] came about because I believed that our librarians had a secret wish list of books they would love to have in their school libraries that they just couldn't afford with the annual budget amount,” school board member Cindy Auberger said.
She found that it was true, and took action, using fundraisers among the staff to create a fund that has bought more than 6,000 books for the six schools in the 12 years that the program has been running.