Slaybaugh principal vows to camp out if students make book goal

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Slaybaugh Complex in Egg Harbor Township Slaybaugh Complex in Egg Harbor Township

EGG HARBOR TOWNSHIP – As a way to grow classroom libraries and spread the love of reading, the Slaybaugh Complex is hosting a “Be Thankful for Books Book Drive” 6-7:30 p.m. Thursday, Nov. 15.   

The goal is to collect 2,500 books, and if the students can donate that many gently used books to the school, Principal Maryanne Giardina has agreed to camp outside in front of the school on Wednesday, Nov. 28.

“I am so excited about our book drive,” Giardina said. “Books are so important. Our goal is to promote literacy and embed it into every part of our lives. We have many great books in our library. However we all know that reading one good book leads to a feeling of accomplishment and the desire for another good book. We want our students to embrace books, and see that reading is alive, and everywhere around us.

“Putting books in students' hands and having books readily accessible is a huge reason to have the drive. Another is to promote a love of reading and match books to readers. It is all about having a wide selection from which to choose, so that everyone finds an interest.”

Giardina said she is not an avid camper, but thought the challenge would interest the students for that reason.

“My camping experience is limited to traveling in a travel trailer with my family a couple times a year. We have camped out in the backyard and not quite made it through the night. The camping idea was a fun way to get students excited about something unique that I would do to get them to contribute books and then read. Reading is also about sharing, too, whether it is a book or thoughts about how a book has given you a different perspective, allowed you to learn, or see life just a bit differently. So I am expanding my horizons and experiences with a camping at school event - reinforcing that reading is adventure.

While she is hoping for good weather on her camp-out date, Giardina said she will be out there if the goal is reached and maybe even if they just come close to the target of 2,500 books.

“If it is not reached, I may promote parents and students coming out to say hi, bring books and see the tent-campsite at the front of the school. We will aim to reach the goal that night. I am committed either way just to get the students excited to bring books here.”


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