Key Peninsula Veterans Past President Roxyanne Wooldridge reads to Evergreen student Makayla Carr. Photo by Hugh McMillan

Last month, a team of Key Peninsula Veterans organization members made another of its many contributions of books to Evergreen Elementary School’s “Reading is FUNdamental” (RIF) program. Students poured into the school library one class at a time with more fervor than they exhibit even for Santa Claus. Each received a book to take home.

Evergreen conducts three RIF days each school year. All the books are age-appropriate for every grade level.

“The library is filled with community members who come to participate in RIF day,” said Principal Dennis Nugent. “Once a student selects a book, the student finds a volunteer adult who will read the book to them or who will listen while the student reads the book to the adult. It all adds up to a great deal of excitement and sends a strong message that books are great and that reading can be fun.”

The KPVets team joined parents and other volunteers in reading with the kids. The adults, particularly the vets, get more out of the exercise than do the kids.

“(KPV) is proud to have been one of the first contributors to this program. Our members agree that it is a highlight of our many projects and we will participate for many years to come,” said KPV President Mike Coffin.

The kids marveled at the decorations, the friendly volunteers, and the book choices. Ashley Phillips, a fourth grader, said, “I mostly like the new books and the fact that you get to read to adults. RIF keeps kids learning at their grade level.”

While this is an all-school event,” said Nugent, “three Evergreen staff members are essential to creating this opportunity for our students: librarian Robin Roe, office manager Betty McCord and health room technician Susan Surratt.” The women even decorate the library to draw the kids in.

Marcia Gibbons, PTA treasurer, said, “As a long-term RIF volunteer, I’ve noticed the improved reading skills of the students throughout all grades.”