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Intervention teacher Mandy Odom, Principal Kelby Daniel and intervention teacher Melissa Kiel announce the start of a reading garden at Tharptown Elementary School.

TES plans reading garden

Tharptown Elementary School is moving forward with plans to build a reading garden for TES students.

The project is being led by intervention teacher Melissa Kiel, with help from intervention teacher Mandy Odom and reading specialist Susie Stockton. It is funded in part by a grant TES received for being declared an Honorable Mention Bicentennial School by Gov. Kay Ivey.

Kiel said the school received $500 for the project.

“We plan to start laying down the foundation for it in September,” Kiel said.

The garden will be a 10-by-24-foot area of land behind one of the school buildings. “It’s a secluded area. It’s easily accessible and very peaceful,” Odom said.

The plan is for pea gravel to cover the ground, and benches or other seating will be available for students to use. Part of the money will also go toward planting trees around the area to provide shade and scenery.

“We want the kids to be involved with planting the trees and helping build the area,” Odom said.

Not only will the area provide a setting for children to read, but it will also provide some new reading materials. “Mrs. Stockton received a separate grant that will provide a weather-proof cabinet and books to go in the area as well,” Kiel said.

Stockton said she created a project through DonorsChoose to request the funding. “I love children’s books and want the children to love books. So, I created a project called Outdoor Books for Outdoor Fun,” Stockton said. Her proposal ended up being funded locally by employees of Toyota of the Shoals.

The books will cover a variety of topics, like science, nonfiction, National Geographic and Junie B. Jones.

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