Summer Let’s Read program wraps up

Published 4:33 pm Friday, August 3, 2018

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The creator of the “Let’s Read” program, Deborah Butler, didn’t always love to read.

A few years ago, she was preparing to undergo a serious surgical operation and found herself bored in a hospital bed.

“My mother told me, ‘I think you need a good book,’ so I read Tyler Perry’s ‘Don’t Make a Black Woman Take Off Her Earrings’. At that time I needed to laugh, and it did.”

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Since then, Butler has discovered a deep passion for reading and a desire to share that passion with others.

She began by tutoring individual students and working as a substitute teacher during the school year.

She found success in tutoring and found parents asking her for continued tutoring during the summer, leading to the creation of her “Let’s Read” program.

This year, for the entire month of July, she has led a group of mostly local elementary students in reading “Stuart Little.”

The group has grown throughout the month, and the final meeting was attended by at least 30 students.

Butler leads discussion surrounding the book, focusing on themes such as “friendship and acceptance of those that are different from you” and incorporating craft projects and group work.

According to Butler, she uses the opportunity to give the program a somewhat looser feel than school, studying the book while also making strides towards showing the students that reading is fun.

She also encourages parents to read the assigned chapters alongside their children.

Butler said the chief goal is “encouraging reading as a hobby” and imparting the gift of reading, telling her students that books can be “an adventure without ever leaving home.”

Butler largely self-funded the venture alongside community donations, taking a summer job in addition to her Master’s Degree studies.

Last Friday was the final day of the program and found the participants, led by Butler, discussing the final chapter of the book.

The day was to end with presentations by each group given to parents and lunch.

Butler is now looking to expand the program to school breaks such as Christmas break.