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CHAMBERSBURG (Sept. 8, 2019) — Dr. Dion Betts has a goal this month. It’s Literacy Month, so he wants to read to every Chambersburg Area School District kindergarten child, all 750 of them.

The project coincides with National Literacy Month and the CASD Foundation’s campaign to raise enough money to provide every Elementary-aged student with a mini-library of books to keep at home before the end of the current school year.

Betts, CASD’s superintendent, started the reading campaign at Buchanan Elementary School Sept. 3. He brought along Clifford, the big red dog (of Television and Scholastic books fame) and Assistant Superintendent Cathy Dusman dressed as Emily Elizabeth from the book Clifford Goes to Kindergarten.

Literacy month
Dr. Dion Betts, Clifford the big red dog and Dr. Cathy Dusman (playing the part of Emily Elizabeth) delighted kindergarteners at Buchanan Elementary School last week. (FCFP photo)

Betts, Clifford and Dusman entertained 45 kindergarteners and their teachers, Joey Reinenan and Caitlin Ramsey, with the story of Clifford and Emily Elizabeth. At the end of the storytelling adventure, each chid was given a copy of the book, compliments of the Foundation and Scholastic Books.

As Betts and crew continue their tour of the district’s kindergarten classes this month, they give away more Clifford books. Letters to parents are sent home with the books, encouraging the adults to read to their children.

The event is part of the CASD Foundation’s plan to provide books children can take home and keep. Betts said sending books home is important in encouraging literacy.

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Yet many of Chambersburg’s youngest learners have few, if any, books in their homes, Foundation Executive Director Angela Lynch said.

Lynch is spearheading the foundation’s “Leaping for Literacy” fundraising drive to raise $100,000 this year for mini-home libraries for the district’s elementary students.

“Leaping for Literacy!”

Summer access to books is critical to academic success, Lynch said.

“Research shows that children can fall behind as much as 2-3 months in reading over that time,” she said.

Furthermore, differences in children’s summer learning experiences during their elementary school years can ultimately impact whether they earn a high school diploma, she said.

Reading just 4-6 books over the summer can prevent a decline in reading achievement scores from spring to fall. To fix the problem, the Foundation wants to provide take-home mini-libraries for every child kindergarten through 5th grader in the district.

It’s a lofty goal, Lynch said, but one she thinks is within reach, with the community’s support.

Betts will do his part for the campaign with a “Leap for Literacy” at Chambersburg’s Skydiving Center next spring.

For more information about the campaign, contact Angela Lynch, Foundation Executive Director, at 717-709-4091 or

All gifts are tax-deductible as eligible by law. To give online, visit:

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  1. Vicky, you have a beautiful smile in your profile picture near the end of the post 🙂

    With that said, I love how Dr. Dion was able to put all of this together. Such a wonderful initiative!

    I wish we had something just like this for all the children who are struggling to learn how to read here in Sweden.

    Both of my children could read before they went to school.

    It was difficult, yet it’s certainly conceivable on the off chance that you invest the energy.

    In the first place, I read. A ton. I read my own books, I read to my youngsters and we go to the library and take the same number of books as we can convey each time. We tune in to books on tape in the vehicle too. Read things to them that are over their reading level.

    Next, we had loads of instructive toys that support reading, had letter tiles and attractive letters and I likewise posted cards with words on them everywhere throughout the house, marking everything (Stove, Frame, Bookcase, Chair, and so on.).

    Additionally, I utilized a book I found at “”. We just got to about exercise 65 or 70 and both of my young men were reading by at that point. We didn’t do an entire exercise each day… as it got more enthusiastically and my child was battling, I just did a half or 33% of an exercise a day.

    One of my children is currently 12 and is just presently grabbing books, as of not long ago he was glad to be read to and read comic books like the Far Side, Garfield, Baby Blues, . It required some investment. My other child is 14 despite everything I read to them two during the evening. About an hour each time, now and again more, if the cliffhanger is too energizing to even consider putting off until tomorrow.

    Additionally, when they do figure out how to read, even a bit, let them read ANYTHING. In the event that they like comic books, get them comic books. Try not to stress that they aren’t reading significant writing, the significant thing is to make them read… whatever it is, even magazines, on the ipad, and so on. In the long run, they will get different sorts of books.

    Keep in mind: reading is the way to progress!

    Good karma!


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