- by Mount Saint Mary College
Rebecca Norman distributing free book boxes to Newburgh Armory Unity Center students after the Saturday morning literacy program.

Mount Saint Mary College faculty and students organized a book donation on Saturday, July 24, 2021 at the Newburgh Armory Unity Center (NAUC) to celebrate summer reading.

Faculty collaborated with NAUC Librarian Trina Brown to organize and distribute close to 1,000 bundles of books, generously donated by Scholastic, for pre-kindergarten to ninth grade students, to keep Newburgh children reading all summer.

Rebecca Norman, associate professor of Education and Graduate Program Coordinator at the Mount, noted that when one family asked her when the books should be returned by, "I said they were for them to keep, and the look of pure awe and gratitude was heartwarming."

Each book box included mirror books, in which characters reflect the reader; window books, in which readers can learn about characters and people who are different from them; and informational texts and biographies for readers to explore and learn about the world.

Janine Bixler, professor of Education at the Mount, noted that the boxes were filled with high quality books, many being notable and/or award-winning works. They included fictional texts with strong characters, "informational texts that promote wonder, and biographies that inspire kids to think about ways to make the world a better place and overcome challenges." 

"We know that children who have books at home and who read regularly are stronger students in school," Bixler added. "Regular reading can have a more positive impact on reading growth and preventing summer slide than attending summer school."

Alexis McBride, assistant professor of Education, is the Mount's newest bilingual Education faculty member and was among the faculty volunteers throughout the book donation program. McBride enjoyed conversing with Spanish speaking families to help kids choose books they were interested in. 

There was a second giveaway for children attending the Armory's literacy tutoring program on Thursday, July 29. Remaining books will be shared with other Newburgh partners who work with children over the summer.

The Newburgh Armory has been changing young lives since 2010. From accessible literacy courses to helping children explore career paths, the Armory hosts a variety of educational programs on Saturdays and weekday afternoons. For more information about the Newburgh Armory Unity Center, visit, email, or call 845-245-4035.


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