Pictured, left to right, R.E.A.D executive director Jennifer “Pajama Mama” Sauter-Price, and PTA Book Fair volunteers Mary Sanders, Joie Neely and Molly Massey were among the parents helping out with this annual fund-raising event.
When the big blue R.E.A.D bus pulls up to Taylor Elementary each fall, you know it’s time for Taylor’s annual book fair to begin. And the success of this event can be attributed to the many dedicated volunteers from the Taylor PTA who came in before, during, and after school to help set up a pop-up bookstore in the school’s library. Much of the success of this this year’s book fair goes to Taylor parents and event organizers Joie Neely, Meghan Russo, and Molly Massey.
As part of the week-long book fair festivities that took place Oct. 23 – 27, Taylor’s PTA sponsored “Reading Under the Stars”, a family-friendly evening event with free refreshments, pizza, book readings by Taylor staff, and opportunities to browse the large selection of books for sale. More than 100 Taylor families attended this year’s event that enabled parents to help their children pick out books for their own home libraries. PTA parents Hannah Wolff and Liz Fitzgerald organized the “Reading Under the Stars” event.
Fitzgerald said that her favorite part of “Reading Under the Stars” is just seeing how much fun the kids have together outside of the normal school setting. “There is a lot of joy to be found from hanging with your friends on a school night,” she said. “It’s really great to help bring them such a great evening of books and fun!”
Another sign of book fair week is the presence of “Pajama Mama” in Taylor’s hallways. Clad in her signature sleepwear, Jennifer “Pajama Mama” Sauter-Price is the executive director of Arington-based R.E.A.D, which stands for Read Early, and Daily. This is the third year that the Taylor PTA has worked with R.E.A.D. to supply books for the fair. While almost every school has a family shopping night,
Sauter-Price said that Taylor’s “Reading Under the Stars” event is unique. Sauter-Price recently told ARLnow “We want to help [kids] grow libraries and encourage their families to read to them on a daily basis.” And the reason for turning the library into a hands-on bookstore for a week, she said that there’s evidence that children grades K-6 benefit more from reading paper books rather than digital books. This year, Taylor families purchased 1,655 books throughout the book fair week.
Each year, proceeds from the annual Taylor book fair help purchase new books for the school’s library, many of which are new titles. Taylor’s librarian, Ursula Reilly, is grateful for the new additions. Since most things at school are preselected for students, said Reilly, “the library is one of the last places for free choice. The library is a place to both find yourself and lose yourself in books at the same time.”