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Dec. 17, 2012
CONTACT: K.E. Schwab

Editors note: Photo available, click here 

SRU group’s ‘We Can Read’ project honors Sandy Hook

SLIPPERY ROCK, Pa. – Members of the Slippery Rock University community are being asked to contribute books for sharing with regional children in honor of those killed last week in the Newtown, Conn., Sandy Hook Elementary School shootings.

The book project “We Can Read” is being organized by the Student Nonprofit Alliance at SRU.

“The project honors the children and their teachers and staff killed at Sandy Hook Elementary in a very special way. The children’s book drive will keep the spirit of those young readers alive and pass on the joy of learning to read to children far and wide,” said Alice Del Vecchio, assistant professor of professional studies and adviser to the student organization.

“The tragic loss of the children and their teachers at the school left everyone trying to make sense of a world that seems turned upside down. Most of us would like to do something to help, but what? We were looking for a way we could honor the children who were just learning to read and those who taught them, when we conceived the ‘We Can Read’ project,” she said.

“Some of us are teachers. Many of us are parents. But, all of us have been children just learning to read. We all share common memories of snuggling on a loved one’s lap, or having someone snuggle on ours, with our favorite storybook. Learning to read was more than letters and words. It was about persistence, support, endearing moments and the amazing pride when we could finally do it,” she said.

The project asks participants to purchase a children’s book, read it to a child and then donate the book to the “We Can Read” project.

Del Vecchio said the books would be sent to regional child-serving organizations such as Head Start programs, day care centers, elementary schools, children’s libraries and other similar programs.

“We are encouraging others across the nation to organize similar ‘We Can Read’ book collections within their communities for distribution within their own regions,” Del Vecchio said.

“We hope those organizing similar projects will keep us informed of their collection totals and distribution sites,” she said. Information about various We Can Read project can be sent to “We will be sending a Valentine’s Day letter to Sandy Hook Elementary School to share the project’s results.”

Because SRU is in winter break through Jan. 28, books will be accepted through Dec. 24 then again Jan. 28-Feb. 3 with the start of spring semester classes. The plan calls for delivery of the books to child-serving organizations in the local region beginning Jan. 28.

Books are being collected in 107 Spotts World Culture Building on campus. Collections in other campus buildings are planned to begin Jan. 28.

SRU President Cheryl Norton called for a moment of silence honoring those killed in Connecticut as part of SRU’s winter commencement last Saturday.

Slippery Rock University is Pennsylvania's premier public residential university. Slippery Rock University provides students with a comprehensive learning experience that intentionally combines academic instruction with enhanced educational and learning opportunities that make a positive difference in their lives.