EDMONTON – In a quiet library at Princeton Elementary School, defenceman Brandon Davidson nervously sat down to read a storybook to the Grade 1 class.
“It’s a little scary I didn’t want to screw up, but they paid attention and I think I only screwed up once, and they didn’t notice,” Davidson said laughing. “It was great, I thought the kids had fun and I did too, so it was great.”
Davidson was the special guest reader as part of the EPCOR Share A Book Program launch. The program started in 2007, but EPCOR stepped up three years ago to help the Edmonton Oilers Community Foundation (EOCF) spread the love of reading.
“Kids may not be able to afford their own books, so with this program two books and a book bag are given to students,” said Natalie Minckler, EOCF Executive Director. “These are books that they can call their own, they can read with their families and spark imagination for a lifetime.”
This year Davidson read author Lorna Schultz Nicholson’s Puckster’s New Hockey Teammate, a book inspired by Hockey Canada’s mascot Puckster.
“It’s really special for me today to watch someone else read [my] book and to watch the children as they’re listening to the story,” said Schultz Nicholson.
She explained how she was a vivacious reader as a kid and hopes she can inspire others to be with her books.
“Being able to sit in a chair and go to a hockey game even though you’re not going, or to go to Africa by just reading a book is so valuable to me and I think it’s wonderful for kids to be able to read,” she added.
This year the EPCOR Share A Book program has provided more than 5,400 books to nearly 2,700 kids across Northern Alberta. To date, more than 28,000 books have been distributed to 14,000 students.
“Schools are welcome to apply for their Grade 1 students,” added Minckler.
“Just being a part of programs like this that are involved with the schools and giving back to kids, there’s so much we can be doing and every little bit helps,” said Connie Smart, EPCOR Manager of Community Investment. “It just melts your heart to see the joy of reading in the kids eyes, it’s pretty special to see in person.”
For more information of EPCOR Share A Book and other EOCF programs, CLICK HERE.