Book giveaway encourages youths to love reading

September 28, 1992|By Anne Haddad | Anne Haddad,Staff Writer

Hoping children will develop a passion for reading, the Woman's Club of Westminster is giving them something to love.

The 81-year-old club gives away books three times a year to children at four area day-care centers through its "My Very Own Book" program, hoping to foster a love of reading, said Louise Spittel of Westminster, the club's Education Department chairwoman.

Volunteers from the club go to day-care centers operated by Carroll County Child Care, the YMCA and Carroll Community College. The volunteers choose a theme, such as a circus, and bring related books and visual aids for a presentation.

Each book the organization distributes contains a bookplate printed with the child's name.

"The children are just thrilled," Mrs. Spittel said, when they're presented with a book they can keep.

"That which you own, you tend to revere . . . and are more likely to appreciate and love," Mrs. Spittel said.

Members raise money through their book sales. At each meeting, members bring books they have read and sell them for a dollar or so to other members, who might just read them and bring them back a month later to sell to someone else.

Although they sell used books among members, Mrs. Spittel said the members prefer to get new ones for the children.

"We feel it's important for the overall presentation to have a brand-new book with the child's name on it," she said. "They say, 'I can share it with someone, but it's my book.' "

"It's important for a child to have a collection of literature which he goes back to from time to time and passes on to his own children," she said. "We do it with furniture, why not literature?"

Although the club and its affiliates around the country have since included other issues literacy and reading have been singled out for emphasis this year, Mrs. Spittel said.

The Westminster club already was off and running with the programs started by Mrs. Spittel two years ago.

The club raises money -- about $400 last year -- to buy new books for the "My Very Own Book" program as well as for:

* Human Services Programs for inclusion into the holiday food baskets given to needy families.

* The city's "Hands to Hamlet" drive, in which local residents sent Christmas gifts to the children of workers killed in a chicken processing plant in Hamlet, N.C.

* "Maryland's Largest Baby Shower," sponsored by the Carroll County Health Department.

* The Adopt-a-Teacher program taken on by the Junior Woman's Club of Westminster.

A retired media specialist in Carroll County Schools, Mrs. Spittel brought inside knowledge about children and books.

"Children who are read to at home, and own books and see their parents reading, are more literate," she said.

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