Wednesday, September 22, 2004

Stocking shelves spurs interest in reading

Express Staff Writer

Silver Creek Alternative High School students Alejandra Silva, left and Daniella Zavala help to stock shelves at Iconoclast Books in Hailey. Photo by Willy Cook

After volunteering to rake, mow, clean, stock shelves and invoice books, students at the Silver Creek Alternative High School discovered the pleasure of reading.

As the students volunteered to help the new Iconoclast Books, an offshoot of the long-time Ketchum establishment, prepare to open its doors in Hailey, they found their hard work led them to enjoy literature.

?Honestly, I didn?t like to read. Now, I want to read more books,? Daniella Zavala, a Silver Creek senior and volunteer, said.

The connection began after Sarah Hedrick, co-owner and manager of the new Iconoclast Books in Hailey, made a book presentation to students at the Silver Creek Alternative High School.

After the event, teens approached Hedrick to express their interest in working at her store.

Through a cooperative program, students volunteer time after school. Their time is compensated by a private cash donation that rewards each hour worked by the students with funds for a school trip. One student works for School to Work credit.

?We help her with whatever she needs help with,? Erica De La Cruz, a senior, said.

For all of their help with the store, the teens were invited to attend the ribbon cutting ceremony that will be 10 a.m. Friday, Sept. 24, at Iconoclast Books. The new store is located at 618 South Main St. in Hailey.

The Hailey Chamber of Commerce is sponsoring the event. Friday evening, the store will also have an open house from 5 to 8 p.m.

The volunteer service changed the students? approach to books.

?My passion is to connect kids with books,? Hedrick said. ?My philosophy is to put books in kids? hands that will appeal to them.?

Her philosophy appears to work.

?She?s been putting books in my hands that I don?t want to put down,? De La Cruz said.

Working at the store also empowers students to play an integral role in choosing their own literature, Hedrick explained.

?The students find their own books by unpacking books,? she said. ?They are completely in control of what they are doing.?

The students discover books to read for the school?s reading program. Other books are selected for literature circles. The circles are a component of the school?s literature class, which encourages students to choose and discuss books.

Some of the books at Iconoclast are not yet on the shelves. Advance reading copies of books provide a first glimpse into the new releases. If they wish, the students can write the first reviews of the new books, which potentially could appear on the back cover of a book. Hedrick explained that publishers provide additional copies for the students, knowing that the books go into the classroom.

Hedrick hopes the group of teens who gather after school is the first of many to come.

?I wanted a store for kids to feel safe. I designed a comfortable and safe place for kids of all ages,? she said.

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