Psychology Class Creates Book Drive to Benefit Local Elementary School
Along with returning to campus with suntans (or sunburns), new spring duds
and a backpack full of work to complete by the end of March, Barbara Juhasz,
assistant professor of psychology, would like students to bring back one
more thing from break: a book for Middletown gradeschoolers.
The “Bring Back a Book” Book Drive is the brainchild of students in Juhasz’s
Psychology of Reading Class. The drive will be going on throughout the week
of March 24.
The idea is for Wesleyan students come back from break with new or lightly
used books that are appropriate for first to fifth grade students and place
them in collection boxes around campus. The books collected will be given to
students at Middletown’s Commodore Macdonough Elementary School to build up
“Research suggests that children become more skilled at reading when they
have access to rich libraries containing many books that interest them,”
Juhasz says. “Yet urban schools, such as Macdonough, often do not have
enough resources to build rich classroom libraries.”
Juhasz said that collection boxes will be placed at Usdan, Judd Hall, the
Center for Community Partnerships, the Freeman Athletic Center, some student
residences and other locations to be determined. Faculty and staff are
welcome to donate books as well.
Students in Juhasz’s class have been working to help teach kids to read
throughout the semester. The students, such as Abby Sedney ’10, noticed that
most classrooms in Macdonough “had very small libraries or no libraries at
all,” Sedney says.
Students initially thought about adding to the classroom libraries by
donating service-learning funds to buy books. However, the idea of a book
drive was floated and the students liked it, thinking it may garner more
books for the school.
“We're hoping this book drive can help the kids at Macdonough become more
interested in reading,” Sedney says. “By collecting from so many people,
we're hoping to give each student an opportunity to read books that interest
them, not just books that follow the lesson plans. We figured spring break
would be a great time to hold the drive because we are well aware of how
hard it is for students to buy or find elementary level books while on
campus. We're hoping students can look through old books at home, or have an
opportunity to go to a book store and pick out a book or two.”
“I think that the book drive will be a nice way for Wesleyan students to
gain awareness about educational issues in the Middletown community that the
typical Wesleyan student may not think about on a daily basis,” Emily
Rosen-King ’08 says. “This will be a positive gesture showing that we care
about the well-being of MacDonough Elementary school, which is just a
five-minute walk from campus.”
For more information and to inquire about donating a book, email Juhasz at
firstname.lastname@example.org or call her at 860-685-4978.
By Corrie Balash Kerr, associate director of