Target grant to strengthen friendships at Linda Nolen

A recent grant from one of the area’s largest retailers will help students at the Linda Nolen Learning Center improve their reading skills while developing deep friendships.

Ginger Hewitt, a teacher at the learning center, applied for and received a $2,000 grant from Target, which she will use to benefit the school’s “Book Buddies” program.

Through the program, Linda Nolen teachers will pair the school’s younger or limited-ability students with older Linda Nolen student reading partners.

“Our school serves students in grades K3 through 12 with a wide variety of abilities and disabilities,” Hewitt said. “One program that we incorporate into our Read Across America activities is Buddy Reading.

“Teambuilding is a key skill that we focus on at LNLC, and Book Buddies will foster both teambuilding and individual empowerment for all students while focusing on reading skills and literature appreciation,” she added. “Book Buddies will also build the school library collection by adding additional titles and materials to our present collection in the much-needed area of emerging readers.”

Because proration has forced the state to stop providing funding for Linda Nolen’s programs, the grant will help the school keep up with the growth it has been experiencing the past few years, Hewitt said.

“State funding usually support’s LNLC’s programs,” Hewitt said. “However, due to proration, we have received no funding these past two years, even though we added an additional six classrooms and 60-plus students.

“Book Buddies will be empowering to the older students as they become a mentor, and the ‘buddies’ love the one-on-one time and attention that is shared in this setting,” she added. “Our school has a library, and since we just began our preschool services in August 2009, our selection of materials for the emerging readers is limited.”