BELOIT - Beloit Memorial High School National Honor Society students have been rounding up books and shelves to help boost early literacy.
Student Gloria Heiss and fellow students will be hosting a book giveaway event from noon - 1 p.m. on May 11 at the Beloit Public Library. The free event will offer games, cookies and tables full of books to peruse. Heiss is expecting around 100 kids and parents. Around 1,000 books will be given away designed for children ages 3 to 12.
"They can grab anywhere from 10 to 15 books per family," Heiss said.
Books such as "Dog Man" and "Diary of a Wimpy Kid" will be raffled off as well. Heiss said the $1,000 for the books came from the Hendricks Family Foundation and $500 came from Jeffrey Peterson of Geneva Supply in Delavan.
Heiss said she is hoping to improve Beloit School District academic performance through literacy. She said she wants to engage students and parents who will hopefully discover a love of reading.
"I want to get books into the hands of children," Heiss said.
Although the students were excited to give away books, they said they wanted to do something more and decided to build and paint book shelves to be raffled off at the end of the event.
On Thursday evening a group of 11 of the students were drilling, assembling and painting bookshelves with the help of Corporate Contractors Inc. carpenter Justin Dahl and foreman Seth Nathan at CareerTek. Each bookshelf was being decorated with themes such as "outer space," "underwater" and Dr. Seuss's book "All the Places You Will Go."
Students said learning to build the shelves and giving back to the community was a wonderful experience. Lisette Villalba said it was a great opportunity to meet students she doesn't normally spend time with.
"I like how we came together to do this. It's great," she said.
Student Rees Graves said some people assume everyone has bookshelves. Building them to give away was a great way to do something unexpected, something that "would otherwise go unnoticed and undone."
Student Jorge Jurado-Garcia said it was a great way to practice his skills learned in construction 1 class at the high school.
Heiss said she will continue to put up fliers around town and promote the event on Facebook. She encourages everyone to spread the word about the book giveaway.
"There are 82 people interested in the event so far," Heiss said.