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Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Summer of Sharing Donation Helped Kids Get Into Books

Claire Swisher and Sally Walton are always looking for new ways to get their middle school Language Arts students hooked on reading. To accomplish this, they started an audiobook club with their 8th grade students at Pioneer Middle School in the fall of 2012.

The students met on Tuesdays and Thursdays to eat lunch and discuss the audio books they listened to. The program picked up momentum throughout the 2012-2013 school year, and soon, Swisher and Walton needed more audiobooks to feed the hungry minds of the club members. 

Last year, the duo of teachers was nominated for a 2013 Summer of Sharing donation on Community Financial’s website. When Community Financial team members read about the new audiobook club and how it was encouraging kids to start enjoying books, Community Financial awarded them $1,000 for the good they were doing in their school.

Swisher and Walton used their donation to support the purchase of audiobooks and iPods so students without their own portable device could participate in the program. Two of the club members would not have been able to participate without the donation. “Our audiobook collection has grown to 27 titles now,” Walton said. “So summer reading can continue, our book collection remains available for students to checkout online.”

Students who participated in the newly found audiobook club started listening to books they never would have considered until fellow students recommended them. A few of the members had never listened to an audiobook before, and fell in love with the style of reading immediately. 

Sara Roza was one of the founding members of the club. She enjoyed the club because it gave her an opportunity to discuss her interests with classmates. "It was pretty cool because it gave me something to do during lunch,” she said. “We all liked reading and it gave us a chance to discuss our similar interests and recommend different books to other students."

Other students like Kyra Frye joined the club because it gave them an activity outside of the classroom. "I was able to read my book outside of school too.  I was able to download it on my iPod and listen to it at home when I was bored,” Frye said.

With the help of the Summer of Sharing donation, the program will be available to 7th grade students as well in the fall of 2014. The program will keep growing, and more students will have access to audiobooks.

“This program makes me so excited to bring the joy of reading to my students,” Swisher said. “Just the other day, I met an incoming 6th grader and his parents. As a special needs student, he does not read much in print. But, when I shared the information about our audiobooks program, his mom was very excited to have him listen to books this summer.”

There are many reasons why Community Financial continues to bring back the Summer of Sharing campaign, and the Pioneer Middle School audiobook club is just one example of the good that is happening in our communities every day.

The Summer of Sharing charitable campaign will run this year until August 29. We’re giving away $1000 a day for 60 days to encourage the positive efforts of those in the communities we serve. Nominate a non-profit, educational, or charitable organization today at

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