Pelham students commit to reading

Published 9:22 pm Friday, November 27, 2009

On Nov. 2, 800 new Pelham deputies were sworn in. Pelham Public Library Director Barbara Roberts and Children’s Librarian Mary Campbell were the officials deputizing these kindergarten, first and second grade Reading Rangers. Taking a solemn oath, Valley Elementary students pledged to read as many books as possible between Nov. 2 and Nov. 23 at home, at school and at the Pelham Public Library.

What they may have lacked in height, Pelham’s Reading Rangers made up for in commitment. During this time frame, VES’s students read 11,160 books. This accomplishment resulted from a partnership between Valley Elementary School and Pelham Public Library that evolved thanks to Valley first-grade teacher Marla Vaughn.

Vaughn said, “Part of my job as an elementary teacher is to introduce children to the love of reading.”

After talking with Valley Elementary School Principal Dr. Debbie Scarbrough about serving as a liason between the school and the public library, Vaughn said, “Conversations began about a fall reading celebration at the school.”

Roberts said, “Vaughn told me that she ran her classroom as the Circle V ranch with a western theme so I invited her to come to Cowboy Bruce Brannen’s summer reading program performance.”

Vaughn accepted the invitation, and the Reading Rodeo was born.

On Nov. 23, Pelham’s Reading Rodeo culminated with Cowboy Bruce Brannen performing for Valley Elementary School.

Mayor Don Murphy recognized grade level winners for the most books read. Winners were Kathy Lightfoot’s kindergarten class with 363 books, Laura Crew’s second grade class with 606 books and Bonnie Haines’ first grade class with a total of 921 books.

Roberts expressed thanks to Pelham Mayor Don Murphy and the City Council for funding the Reading Rodeo.

Finally, Roberts said, “As the holiday season approaches, the best gift that parents can give their kids is a Pelham Public Library Card.”

Connie Nolen can be reached by e–mail at