Principal Kelly talks about the #ReadWithYourChild book drive, presented by Shea Homes Arizona, and the 1,676 books that were donated to Lowell School


It’s important to the Shea Homes Arizona team to be involved in the community, and this year, we brought back our Read With Your Child 15 Minutes a Day book drive and campaign to support our passion for literacy and education at young ages. Launched in January, the book drive was not only an effort to raise awareness about the importance of child literacy, but a drive to donate books to a deserving school here in Phoenix, Lowell Elementary. The campaign collected new and gently used children/youth books at the sales offices of every Shea Homes family division community across the Valley.

This past Monday, March 2nd, Shea Homes and its employees joined the students and staff of Lowell Elementary in Phoenix, as they joined millions of their peers across the country to celebrate the sixteenth annual National Education Association’s Read Across America Day.

Shea Homes’ Read With Your Child campaign was such a success, and our employees were so excited to donate a total of 1,676 books to their school. Principal Tyson Kelly answers a few questions below about the school’s excitement over the large donation, and what the books will be used for:

How was the book donation on Monday? What festivities were going on at Lowell during the presentation?

1.1Principal Tyson Kelly: We had a great time Monday with the book donation with Shea Homes’ employees reading to the students, and participating in helping students select a book to take home. Throughout the week we had:The Lorax Mustache Monday, Dress for the Places You Will Go, Dress in Green for Green Eggs and Ham, Silly Socks Day for Fox in Socks, and a grade-level decorating contest where each grade-level received a Dr. Seuss book title as a theme for their grade-level area.

How has the Shea Homes #ReadWithYourChild book donation campaign benefited Lowell School? How will these books be dispersed throughout the school and the students’ curriculum?

TK: The Shea Homes #ReadWithYourChild book donation helps the students build a home library, it will help teachers build a classroom library, and some were added to the Media Center book collection. The students of Lowell are to read 20 minutes a night as part of the reading curriculum, and having new books to add to their libraries are very important to keel the students interested in reading.

What was the reaction of the teachers when these books were donated to Lowell? And the students?

The teachers, students and community were very pleased with the donation and appreciated the books very much. Literacy at every level is very important for a child’s success in all levels of education.

Why is Lowell School a fitting beneficiary of the Shea Homes #ReadWithYourChild book drive?

TK: Lowell School was a fitting beneficiary because they reinforce our theme of Readers are Leaders and Leaders are Readers. Shea Homes is a leader in the housing community, and their commitment to our 1.2students throughout Monday helped our students see how important reading is to there future success. We appreciate help from all businesses and community organizations because it gives our students an opportunity to make more connections to how their education relates to their future.

And last, what is your favorite childhood book?

TK: Where the Red Fern Grows

Literacy development begins in the first three years of life, and kindergarten through third grade is a critical time in the development of a child’s lifelong literacy. Spending just fifteen minutes every day reading with your child can better prepare them for their school years to come and even enjoy learning.

For more information on Shea Homes and what we’re up to at the Arizona division, like us on Facebook, follow us on Twitter, get inspired with us on Pinterest, and learn all things homebuilding on our YouTube channel.


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As part of our #ReadWithYourChild campaign, book drive and raffle to develop strong, young readers who are passionate about learning, we are excited to share ten fun and interactive ways to make reading with your child an effective and enjoyable experience.

  1. Bring the characters within your favorite books to life by creating distinct voices for each of them. Use tone, volume and pace when speaking to express emotion.
  2. Take breaks from reading word-for-word to pay attention to illustrations. Ask your child questions about what is happening in the picture, who is in the picture and to share details such as colors, sizes and shapes from the image. “A picture is worth a thousand words.”- Chinese Proverb
  3. Connect what you are reading to the world around you. For example, read books about nature at the park and/or books about animals at the zoo. This will allow your child to make a connection between the book’s description of the object(s) and the physical object(s) itself.
  4. Use nonverbal communication while reading to express ideas. Hand motions and body movements act as great visuals to help your child understand and remember the story. For instance, if a character in the story is running, you and your child can hold your arms in the shape of a right angle and swing them forward and back as if you were jogging.
  5. Sing! Pick a tune from one of your child’s or your own favorite nursery rhymes and turn the story you are reading into a song; the melody and repetition will help your child learn the material and retain it.
  6. Most little ones have one book that they could read all day long and still love with all of their heart. With all of this repetition, your child is likely to have parts of the book memorized. Use this as a tool to get them involved in the reading process and to build their confidence. Start by reading the first part of the sentence and then pause at the part your child knows to let them fill in the blank.
  7. Sit down with your kiddo to read, but just listen. Let your child use their imagination to tell the story from start to finish on their own.
  8. Make reading a family affair by encouraging all members of the family to read with your kiddo(s). This will allow everyone to express their personality, share their favorite books and learn from one another.
  9. Kids are like sponges, they will soak up everything they see you say and do. Set a positive example by making time for yourself to read daily and by keeping reading material throughout the house.
  10. Engage with the community and discover new reads by attending story-time programs at your local library or bookstore.

There’s still time to donate books for our book drive and get entered into a raffle to win 1 of 6 Amazon gift cards. Click here for all the details!

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