Randolph County Schools sponsors project
ELKINS — This holiday season Randolph County households with elementary school children will benefit from a literacy and family engagement project called Snuggle up and Read. The project, sponsored by Randolph County Schools, is designed to promote literacy, learning, and family togetherness over the holiday break. As part of Snuggle up and Read, each RCS student enrolled in preschool through the fifth grade received a gift bag containing a book, an educational toy, a small stuffed animal or “reading buddy,” and a packet of hot cocoa.
The initiative was made possible using funds from a grant the county receives through the Campaign for Grade-level Reading and donations from Matthew 25, a non-profit organization in Cincinnati, Ohio. The Campaign is a collaborative organization made up of foundations, school systems, business leaders, non-profit partners, and government agencies from across the nation. The goal of the organization is to provide support to schools and families to improve literacy and ensure student success.
Matthew 25 is an international humanitarian aid organization that provides basic necessities, educational materials, and disaster relief supplies across the nation and worldwide. The organization places an emphasis on projects that provide for children. In addition to donating toys for the school system’s Snuggle Up and Read project, Matthew 25 also supplied several hundred toys to the county’s Toys for Tots program.
Amy Rowan-Smith, Randolph County Schools Director of Elementary Curriculum and the county’s Campaign for Grade-level Reading coordinator explained the county’s reasons for sponsoring the project.
“Research on reading and school success indicates that the two best ways to improve student literacy skills are to provide them with quality reading materials both in and out of the classroom and to encourage family engagement,” she said. “This project allowed us to do both. Hopefully, it will have the added benefit of providing our students and their families with a little joy as well this holiday season.”
The bags were packed at the Phil Gainer Center during the first week of December by a team of volunteers that included Randolph County Schools Central Office staff members and faculty and staff from schools throughout the county. The bags were later transported to individual schools via school bus and distributed to students thereafter.
Upon receiving his bag, Harrison Wood, a third-grade student at Third Ward Elementary School, said, “The presents were really cool and fun. The Lego set was my favorite. I want to thank the people who gave them to us.”
Beverly Elementary School students and siblings Cora Varian-Mauzy and Silas Varian-Mauzy agreed. They said, “The presents are cool and awesome and we love them.” Their mother, Ashley Varian-Mauzy incorporated the books and toys in family time with her children just as the project intended.