Students get early Christmas gifts |

Students get early Christmas gifts

Teri Vance
Shannon Litz/Nevada Appeal

Empire Elementary School first-graders cheered and clapped as librarian Muriel Weidemann announced they would each be receiving their own books.

“It’s not one you have to bring back to the library,” she explained. “Is that so cool?”

With a grant from a partnership through First Book and Target, each student at the school will receive a book to take home.

“These are the future leaders of our country,” Weidemann said. “We have to get them excited about learning. What better way to do that than to give them their own book?”

She handed out copies of Jeff Brown’s “Flat Stanley” to all first-graders Friday.

Uriah Carter, 6, was pleased with the selection of books.

“I like it,” he said. “He’s flat, and he’s kind of like a cube.”

Araceli Landa, 6, was excited to share her new book with her family.

“We get to read it at home every day,” she said.

Kindergartners at the school will receive “Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day,” by Judith Viorst. Second-graders will get “The Absent Author” from the “A to Z Mysteries” series by Ron Roy.

Students in third through fifth grades will receive “Holes,” by Louis Sachar.

Weidemann said the books students receive will be just above their expected reading level.

“When you have ownership of something, it gives you a goal,” she said. “It’s something they’ll reach for because it belongs to them. They’ll work harder.”

Soriah Tjeltveit, 6, recently learned a new reading technique from her babysitter she is eager to try out on her new book.

“You just look at it, but you read in your head,” she said. “You don’t say the words.”

A second round of books is expected to arrive soon through Operation Outreach USA.

All first- and second-grade classes will be receiving a book that they can keep with lessons for teachers and parents to be able to use at home.

Abigail Diez, 6, spoke for her class in thanking the donors.

“We like to read,” she said. “It makes us happy.”