For ten years students from Georgian Bay Secondary School (GBSS) have helped bring the joy of reading to hundreds of youngsters in the Meaford area.

This year the Born to Read club, which is run by GBSS teacher Amy Teed-Acres, has 17 student members who help raise awareness about the importance of developing reading skills early, and they also raise money to purchase books that are distributed to area children.

The Born to Read Club works with Bruce Grey Children Services by raising funds to purchase new children’s books. The purchased books are also delivered to families participating in the Keystone program in Grey and Bruce Counties. The books are packaged by GBSS students along with letters outlining the importance and beneficial skills gained through early reading.

We visited MCS Junior Kindergartners this week, SVE JKs (French and English) in two weeks, and BVCS JKs in the first week of December. We will donate about 170 books to these classes and we hope to donate at least 200 to Keystone Child and Family Services,” Teed-Acres told The Independent.

In the ten years that the program has been running, more than 500 books have been presented to students in MCS, SVE, and BVCS kindergarten classes, and more than 1,100 literacy packages have been prepared by the Born to Read club for distribution across Grey and Bruce counties by Keystone.

The Born to Read ‘Kids for Kids’ Literacy Initiative has grown and changed in ways I never expected. While I was passionate about the cause of early childhood literacy and knew the impact it could have on success in school and beyond, it has been amazing to see how committed the teenagers at GBSS are to kids in our community and across Grey-Bruce. It is priceless for me to see how their own passion for reading has helped them to succeed and how they are mature and introspective enough to recognize the value of literacy and to have the drive to inspire younger kids in our community to read,” Teed-Acres told The Independent.

To celebrate the ten years of the Born to Read initiative, Teed-Acres is hoping to host a literacy festival next spring.

It would include a fun-filled day of literacy-based fun and a big-name guest author talk. We would partner with Keystone and a number of community organizations. At this point all we can say is that it will be amazing!” explained Teed-Acres.