'Bookcase Project' Donates Bookcases, Books To Cleveland Children

Sunday, October 30th 2011, 7:40 pm
By: News On 6

Dan Bewley, News on 6

CLEVELAND, Oklahoma -- A Green Country city is working to help some its youngest residents learn how to read. Volunteers in Cleveland have launched a program that will provide books and a special place to keep them.

Missy Cooper knows how important it is that her four-year-old learns how to read. Little Wyatt is a big fan of Velveteen Rabbit and other barnyard tales.

Wyatt and his mom are one of 24 families who will be getting a special gift next spring, a handmade bookcase, complete with their name on a brass plate, and books to go on the shelves.

"That's important, that'll be something that he can have for the rest of his life," Cooper said.

It's called the "Cleveland Bookcase Project." It starts with collection boxes that are all around town, they're used to gather gently used or new books for four-year-olds.

On November 1, organizers are hosting a banquet to raise money to buy materials to build wooden bookcases.

The bookcase and books will then be given to four-year-olds in the city's head start program in April.

This project is based on a program that started in Conway, Arizona and has since gone on to other states like Illinois and Ohio, and this is the first one to take place in Oklahoma.

"It would be a way to really encourage them to want to learn to read, their parents to sit and read with them, read at night," said Ron Shipman, Mayor of Cleveland. "The kids will want to collect their own books to fill up their bookcases and so on."

Organizers said it's important to encourage children to read while they're young.

"A kid that can't read has trouble with math, has trouble with science, with history, as well as English and so on," Shipman said.

Cooper appreciates the help saying it's nice to see her hometown looking out for its children.

"Somebody out there cares. That's a good thing that people are thinking about the children of the community," Cooper said.

Tickets for Tuesday evening's Cleveland Bookcase Project banquet can be purchased in Cleveland at Mack's Furniture, Celebrations, the Jay C. Byers Public Library, and Cleveland city hall.