James students put reading on their lists

By Tony Parra

James Elementary students are opening the door to the world of imagination books have to offer this week as part of the Scholastic Book Fair.
Some James Elementary students were made their first visit to the book fair on Tuesday.
Tina Miller, James Elementary librarian, said James Elementary students will take a minimum of two visits to the library during the week. Miller said the initial 30-minute visit by students will be so children can create a wish list of which books they want.
The Scholastic Book Fair is a mini-bookstore in which students are able to skim through new books and write down the ones they would like their parents to purchase for them. Miller said the students take the wish list back to their parents and it gives the parents the option of purchasing the books their children want.
However, second-grader Armando Manquero brought money and had an item in mind. Manquero purchased a Spongebob Squarepants’ book on Tuesday. Manquero said he really likes the book fair and said he his biggest interested in books is for the natural disaster books.
Miller said the students come back with money from their parents and on their second visit to the library for the book fair, they purchase the books they want from Scholastic. Whitley Victor, a third-grader, listed Ripley’s Believe It or Not on the top of her wish list.
“I like it because it’s got a lot of weird stuff in it,” Victor said. “I used to have it, but I lost it when I moved.”
Victor said she has many Junie B. Jones books at her house because she enjoys reading about the girl who gets in trouble and misadventures. Kaci Terry, a third-grader, said she also enjoys the Junie B. Jones books.
“You can learn better,” Terry said about the importance of reading. “There’s a bunch of good books and posters at the book fair.”
Miller has between six and eight volunteers for the book fair. She said they will give out prizes such as books on Friday.
Miller said the James Elementary library also receives a portion of the purchases. Miller said the library receives 30 percent of the profits to help maintain the library. She said other sources of funding for the libraries is from the school’s budget and the general bond obligations.
“We want to get the books in the kids’ hands,” Miller said. “It’s important to get them interested in reading at the second- and third-grade levels and develop a reading skill they need to build on.”
The Scholastic book fair also has a selection of educational toys, posters and software. Miller said books have a lot of competition for children’s attention such as television, sports and other activities.
“We’re doing better with that,” Miller said. “We want to emphasize the importance of reading. Any type of reading, even if we can get them to read comic books, it’s better than not reading at all.”
Miller said each year there are two book fairs, one in the fall and the other in the spring. Other Portales Schools elementaries had their book fairs earlier in the spring semester. Brown, Steiner, Valencia and Lindsey Elementary librarians conducted book fairs in March.