Garland community shares stories, celebration with Northlake ES

As Garland ISD implements its new Balanced Literacy initiative, which strengthens reading and writing skills, the district recently received support from one community organization. The Garland Altrusa club partnered with Northlake Elementary School to celebrate International Literacy Day Sept. 8.

“Altrusa’s main focus is literacy,” said Shirley Raymer, community service chair for Altrusa Garland. “We have worked in four GISD schools for many years. Today, we have Garland dignitaries who are reading a story to the students, and then on Monday we will hold a book fair where we give every child in the school a book of their choice.”

Story time and giveaways may be nothing new for the club, but the magnitude of this year’s celebration was. It marked the 100th anniversary of Altrusa.

“The teachers are buzzing, and everyone is wearing their T-shirts. I even have a cape. The kids are also having a great time. They are writing thank you notes already to the readers,” commented Northlake librarian Christi Beth Fisher.

More than a dozen leaders from across town and even Texas shared several of their favorite books throughout the school. Guests included State Representatives Angie Chen Button and Cindy Burkett, as well as Garland Mayor Douglas Athas and Fire Chief Mark Lee. But the morning was about more than just a milestone birthday.

“Literacy is the key to success in anything we do in life,” said Raymer. “As a past teacher, I am a proponent of children loving to read and reading a lot. It will improve their lives and also the lives of their families.”