The Saratoga Sun -

Trust in books


Ryta Sondergard, Community Relations Director for Sinclair Wyoming Refining Company (Sinclair), has been working with Book Trust for two years.

Sinclair, through Sondergard's understanding of the program, recently sponsored all Carbon County School District No. 2 kindergarten to fifth grade students in the program.

Book Trust is a non-profit organization whose mission statement is to empower elementary age school children to choose and own books, create enthusiasm for reading and elevate literacy skills. The hope is the literary prowess gleaned at an early age will be the foundation to lifelong learning.

Book Trust believes by furnishing students with the chance to choose their own books, students will build a library at home they can enjoy with their family.

Book Trust is looking to reach 100,000 students beginning in fall of 2018. The non-profit is currently in 19 states. Since 2001, Book Trust has facilitated over six million book choices and placed them in the hands of students."This year we are doing K through 5 this year, instead of just K through second," says Sondergard. She is passionate about what Book Trust is doing for children."It teaches so much," Sondergard said. "It teaches the love of reading, but it also has lessons of budgeting."A child is given a $7 stipend each month and it is up to the child to decide how to spend the money. Scholastic Books is a partner with Book Trust, so this where the child goes to purchase the book."With their $7 stipend each month, the child can get one book for $7 or maybe get seven books for $1 a piece and share with their siblings," Sondergard explained. "It is a win-win." Sondergard also believes that in families where English a second language, these books can be shared by not only the younger generation, but also parents who could also be learning English. She also points out as children buy books they start building up a library the whole family can potentially enjoy."These kids start getting their own library, it is in the home, so it really can help the whole family, especially if English is that second language," Sondergard said.

"Book Trust covers a gambit of objectives by getting books into the home," Sondergard said.

Sinclair is sponsoring Book Trust with a goal to have children at very young ages learn about purchasing and choosing books they are interested in.

"At this point, Book Trust is going to be part two of the three part program because we are going to be helping with the pre-K and day cares since you have to get the kids really early."

Sondergard got involved with Book Trust through a friend she has known for 30 years in Denver, Linda Mitchell, who is currently the Vice President of Development of Book Trust."It is that domino effect. Linda and I worked together for the Denver Center for Performing Arts," Sondergard said. "Linda left her position to go to work for Book Trust and she explained it all to me. Well, it started ringing bells and I remember getting books from Scholastic."

Sondergard remembers Scholastic when she was a child and how important getting those books were to her life."Books were sacred in my childhood. We didn't have a lot when I grew up in Detroit and I was the youngest of six, however we were taught you didn't write in books and you don't fold the pages down, you treated them like I said, they are sacred, treat them as such," Sondergard said."I like to install this in young ones because it has taken me far. I grew up very poor and we didn't have a lot, but with a book, I could go anywhere I wanted to go," she said.

She is proud Sinclair is so involved with this organization and how the company helps the Carbon County school system."Book Trust is life changing, no other way to say it," concluded Sondergard.


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