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Bay kids give books to shelter



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GIVING THE GIFT of the printed word, Sheila Venteicher, far right, and the students in her two seventh-grade reading classes collected enough books to fill 10 Totes, gift-wrapped them, and sent them to the county’s Twin Oaks family homeless shelter.

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December 24, 2012 | 01:28 PM
WILLIAMS BAY — Sheila Venteicher's students in her two seventh-grade reading classes know that knowledge is not just for inside the school.

It needs to be shared with the community and outside world.

This past week, the 45 students in Venteicher's sixth- and eighth-hour classes collected, sorted and packed more than 400 gently-used books, not counting magazines and reference materials, and shared them with the Twin Oaks Shelter for the Homeless, W9665 US Highway 14, Darien.

Venteicher said the students started bringing the books in for donation at the start of the month.

The sixth-hour class sorted the books; the seventh-hour class packed them into Totes.

Venteicher, who lives in Williams Bay, said she knew of Twin Oaks. But she said it was Kathleen Clothier, planning and development assistant with Community Action Inc. of Rock and Walworth Counties, who suggested the book donation project.

A telephone message left with Clothier on Friday had not been answered before deadline.

For Venteicher, the project fit in with her philosophy of in-service learning, a part of her curriculum.

It's something her students also believe in.

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"With in-service learning, you take what the students learn in the classroom to solve real live problems," said Taryn Ripple, one of Venteicher's sixth-hour students.

In fact, most of the students in Venteicher's sixth-hour class were more than eager to explain to a visitor what their project entailed and how they gathered the books to be donated.

In addition to books donated by the students, the Williams Bay school libraries also donated, which were brought to the class by Charley Mestek, the school's at-risk coordinator, said student Leslie Olson.

In addition to sorting and packing the books, students also made book marks. Some of the 2 ˝ -by-8-inch bookmarks have synopses of donated books written on them by the students, said student Ben Dellheim.

As students sorted the books, they relived their earlier reading, pausing over books entitled "Jenius the Amazing Guinea Pig," and "If You Gave This Moose a Muffin."

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"Then we put the books into these real cool Totes," said Clayton Gilbert.

Venteicher said she scrounged the Totes and bought some.

The books weren't the only gifts to the families at the shelter.

They get to keep the Totes, as well.

"Kids were reliving their reading as they sorted," Venteicher said.

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She said that Clothier told her that there are about 12 youngsters staying at the shelter this time of year, and many age-appropriate books were packaged and sent to the individual youngsters.

"Christmas is a stressful time of the year," Venteicher said. "Reading is a nice release. Escape into a good book."

This is Venteicher's first year as a teacher at Williams Bay, and the first year for the book donation. It may not be the last.

Venteicher said donated books are still coming in.

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