CPE Book Swap yields thousands of new titles

Paige MacKenzie and Zoe Larsen with the CPE Book Graph. Photo courtesy of Columbia Park Elementary

By Ariel McDowell
Columbia Park Elementary School Principal

All last week week, Columbia Park Elementary School students participated in a book drive to fill up our free school Book Swap. The school Book Swap lives in our main entrance and students, parents and visitors are encouraged to help themselves to books and to donate books on an ongoing basis.

However, our book selection had become a little mundane of late, so the staff of CPE decided we needed to liven things up. The Book Swap comes out of our school focus on literacy and our belief that easy access to good books for everyone is a right.

On Monday last week, classes were asked to set a goal for the number of books they could bring in. After we kicked off the book drive, we added a little element of competition.  Tracy Tompkins, our Grade 5 teacher, designed a huge graph to chart each day’s progress for each class.  I added in a pizza lunch prize to be awarded to the class that brought the most books.  By Wednesday, we had over 1,000 books, and most classes had exceeded the goal they set.  By Thursday, it was getting downright ridiculous: books were being delivered by breathless parents at all hours of the day.  Friday morning, our lovely and patient secretary, Sandi Young, was surrounded by hundreds of books waiting to be delivered to classrooms.  After lunch today— after having charted and re-charted the classroom totals — the final tally was a whopping 3,288 books!  Sarah Rota’s Grade 1/2 class came out in first place with 606 books piled outside their room!

Artfully arranged books collected by Mrs. MacFarlane's Grade 2/3 class. Photo courtesy of Columbia Park Elementary

The hugely successful Drive ended with each class artfully displaying the books they

Students from Ms. Rota's class collected 606 books; Hailey Vigue and Rhenna Secord organize the piles of books. Photo courtesy of Columbia Park Elementary

collected on tables outside their classroom.  All of the students were then invited to go “shopping” (for free) for five books of their choice to take home.  The last half hour of the day CPE looked like one enormous used book store, filled with excited bookworms.  I suspect many families are curled up on couches enjoying the new books as I write this.   Now I’m off to do the same with my kids! All of us here at CPE are so grateful to the wonderful and supportive families at our school, and I’d love them to see their efforts mentioned.