Spruce Home Public School part of Indigo Adopt a School program

Spruce Home Public School Facebook Mascot Hero the Huskie reads to students from Spruce Home Public School.

Spruce Home Public School has been selected to participate in the Indigo Love of Reading Foundation’s Adopt a School program this fall, which runs from Sept. 13 to Oct. 3.

The foundation has paired the Indigo book store at the Centre at Circle and Eighth in Saskatoon with Spruce Home Public School to provide reading resources for the school library.

Principal Carol Anne Short explained that they want to make the library better to inspire students to enjoy reading.

“I would love everyone to become a voracious reader because that is what I am,” Short explained. “I think devices have replaced actually sitting and reading. I think it’s easier to pick up a device and communicate through that than it is to actually read, and I think promoting reading is actually the right thing to do. Its easy if we have the right material and it’s accessible.”

“I’m hoping that upgrading our library will help to appeal to all of the kids and their families,” she added. “We want them to be engaged and entertained.”

While pandemic continues to impact how students access reading materials, the Adopt a School program continues its goal of upgrading library collections with new and diverse learning materials, which further enhance education and literacy skills.

Short said that Spruce Home has very diverse demographics, with a collection of students from rural areas and First Nations. She said it’s important to inspire all of them to read more.

“I really believe that we have a goal to ignite, or reignite, a love of reading in our kids and community,” she said. “Social media and video games seem to have replaced a lot of the simple act of reading. You can read on a device but it’s not the same as holding a book and I think that we are hoping to get people engaged.

“It’s so much easier, I think, for kids to do something else,” she added. “I think that social media and video games—and we are all guilty of it—has replaced the simple and enjoyable act of just reading.”

Spruce Home’s library is small, and old, Short explained. However, she also said the school does their best to keep it as up to date as possible.

“We have always been adding to it,” she said. “We are building up our library every year—our School Community Council helps us with that—and we do some fundraising. We buy library resources every year, but I don’t think that people realize what a financial commitment the purchase of new books is. They are expensive.

“We have a budget that we can use every year but it isn’t enough,” she added. “A lot of kids struggle with reading and comprehension, and I believe that they should be able to choose books that are of interest to them. I think that we need a more varied selection. We have a diverse population and I believe that our reading material should reflect that. Students want to feel valued and they want to be able to see themselves in a book.”

This year, 153 Canadian elementary schools across the country have been “adopted” by an Indigo, Chapters and Coles store who will fundraise on their behalf. Since Coles in Prince Albert closed, the nearest location is in Saskatoon.

Those who wish to support can do so by making a donation in store or through the online Adopt a School fundraiser at https://indigoloveofreadingfoundation.givecloud.co/fundraisers. The online fundraiser is at $125 as of Sept. 23.

Spruce Home Public School is small with a population of over 100 students. Their goal is to raise $1,000.

Short said they’d like new and interesting books to help engage students. School staff already have students bring suggestions for books and they try to buy every book or series that they want. She also selects students to read books and asks what their opinion is.

“I think we need to supply relevant, interesting, good fit books,” she explained. “A good fit book is one that relates to the kids at their level. It’s something they can read comfortably, and understand what they are reading. That way they connect to it so they are engaged.

“I really believe kids should choose books that interest them,” she added.

Short explained that she also wants to make the library selections more diverse and inclusive. The many demographics at the school are something that makes the school great, according to Short.

“Schools need to be inclusive,” she said. “It’s all very friendly and delightful, as every principal would like to build a school.”

Support for each school is in-store or online. All of the funds raised through kiosk donations or the online fundraising pages for each school will be donated to participating high-needs schools. As these schools and their students continue to navigate through the complexities of education during the pandemic, support is more essential than ever, and the opportunity to enrich the lives of students through their school libraries has never been greater.

“This past year has been exceptionally difficult for students and educators across the country. In schools where new books and educational resources are already limited during the pandemic, remote learning and school closures created even greater barriers for student literacy,” Rose Lipton, Executive Director of the Indigo Love of Reading Foundation, said in a release.

“Many people don’t realize that schools in socio-economically disadvantaged communities across Canada have limited library budgets, leaving vulnerable students with inadequate stacks filled with outdated and tattered books. It’s important that we invest in school libraries across Canada where every child has access to books and the opportunity to fall in love with reading.”

Indigo founded the Indigo Love of Reading Foundation in 2004 and is dedicated to putting books in the hands of children in high-needs elementary schools across Canada.