NORTH CANTON Ava Zahler is a fourth-grade student at Greentown Intermediate in the North Canton City School district. Ava’s mother asked her one evening how she would help students at her school who may have challenges with reading.
Ava responded, "Buy them audio books." Her mother then helped her write a Junior Leaders Community Service grant for $1,500 from the Junior League of Stark County. Ava was awarded the grant and the school is getting ready to order the audio books.
"The amount of the grant will allow us to order a lot of audio books, Ava is going to help select some of the audio books with librarian Paula Guiler in the next week or so," Principal Ryan Kumpf said.
Kumpf added that the audio books will help those kids who may be slow at reading or have other challenges such as dyslexia.
"It’s the same concept as reading to infants. Listening to the vocabulary will help with reading," Kumpf said.
Ava received the grant from the Junior League in mid-December. The Junior League sent two representatives to the school to present the grant to her along with a bouquet of flowers.
Kumpf said they presented it to her in front of 50 of her classmates, her parents and her teachers. Ava is as excited today about getting the grant as she was when it was presented to her last month.
Ava said she listens to audio books herself and believes the audio books can help kids in many ways including those who want to hear stories at a higher reading level or who are struggling with the English language.
"I have a friend and she likes to read and is a good reader, but she would like to hear stories that are written at a higher reading level than she is," Ava said. "I think the audio books can also help kids that are learning English and have a hard time understanding or reading words on a test. It feels good to be able to help students who are struggling with reading and I think the audio books will make a difference."
Ava’s family donated the first audio book, "Wonder," to get the collection started.