Smith Elementary’s New Reading Room


AmeriCorps members Daniel and Meredith paint the walls of the new reading room at Smith Elementary

It was a great opportunity to build the reading room for the kids at Smith Elementary and provide them with a place where they can feel welcome and excited to increase their reading skills. To start off, I would like to thank the Carson Scholars Foundation for making this happen at our school. The room was built for independent reading so kids can explore reading on their own.

Carson Scholars Foundation granted Smith Elementary $15,000 to build a reading room. The process took about two months and a lot of help from AmeriCorps members. We began with a room that used to be an office space. We took it apart, cleaned it out, and gave it our own touch.  We painted the room a sky blue with purple to represent Smith’s colors and added “Think Big” to one of the walls to represent Carson’s Scholars Foundation motto. Smith has a beautiful tree that is located in the playground, called the “Peace Tree,” that stands almost three stories high. We drew a mural of the “Peace Tree” on one of the walls to give a park feeling to the room.  We also drew clouds all around the top of the room to give the kids the sense that they are reading outside in the park, specifically the “Peace Tree Park”. After long days of being in a room painting and adding details to it, Smith decided to add carpet to the room. Boy, did it make the room look bigger and much warmer. Finally, we ordered furniture and brand new books that would be kept solely in the room.

The opening of the room was on November 9, 2012. We invited one student from each grade to join us in the opening. We served snacks and cake and had a ribbon cutting ceremony. Ms. Salter, Assistant Principal of Smith Elementary, did the honors of cutting the ribbon.

Smith was one of five schools granted the scholarship to create a reading room. Dr. Ben Carson, founder of Carson Scholars Foundation, was able to talk to the five schools through web cam during the opening ceremony. One student from each school was allowed to ask Dr. Carson a question that had to do with his career or his Foundation. The whole process was a journey and at the end it was a joy to see the kids exploring and ejoying the reading room.

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