Inspiring early readers

West Shore book recycling program brings tales to tots

Denise Brown

Snuggling for a nightly tale is a critical literacy ritual that Denise Brown hopes to spread across the West Shore.

“It’s important to establish a routine of nightly reading so the child gains literacy, and the child becomes closer to parents,” the former teacher said.

Brown is project leader for the new Westshore “1000×5” book recycling program “for the love of reading”, based on successful similar programs in Victoria and the Saanich Peninsula. The program aims to also provide that connection between parent and child with early reading.

“Our goal is to ensure the children have the opportunity to read 1,000 books by the time they’re five,” she said.

Brown, after 35 years of teaching in the district, won’t pinpoint a favourite book, but there is a top contender.

Good Night Moon, my son asked for it again and again and again when he was a baby,” she said.

She wants to instill the healthy literacy level her son had in kids throughout the region. Reading at home teaches kids know how to sit, enjoy and be entertained by a story.

“Some kids come to school and they don’t have that. It’s sad to see,” she said.

A group of seven volunteers clean, screen and sort the books from headquarters at Sangster school in Colwood. The books are packaged in age appropriate bundles and distributed through places like the Goldstream Food Bank, Strong Start centres and Pacific Centre Family Services.

“Wherever families are in need of books, we’re going to get them there. … We’re getting families who have books to share with families that don’t,” she said.

Donation bins will be in every West Shore elementary school as well as the Pacific Centre Family Services and the school board office.

Books are bundled in age groups 0-2, 3-4 and 5-6.

“The earliest books are the hardest to find good ones of,” she said.

For details or to volunteer for the program contact Brown at


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