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English Majors Recruiting Translators to Put Books in Every Home

A group of posing literature students
Literature majors from L: Denise Holbrook, Karly Workman, Malia Cole, Gecko McDowell, Leigh Price, Paige Hatch and Will Cole.

Graduating Boise State seniors earning literature degrees in the English department recently met their goal of raising $1,000 to buy new books for third graders at Taft Elementary School. They have extended their goal to add first and second grade classrooms to the project – you can help by donating here.

For the second consecutive year, students in Tara Penry’s senior capstone in literary studies course are applying their writing, reading and critical thinking skills, and their love of literature, to a team project designed to encourage early readers. Boise State students visit local Title I classrooms, read aloud from books they have selected, and send elementary students home with books intended to inspire imaginations and promote a love of reading.

Students in this semester’s capstone class – Malia Cole, Will Cole, Paige Hatch, Denise Holbrook, Gecko McDowell, Leigh Price and Karly Workman – have elected to visit a school with a high proportion of refugee families. They are researching children’s books in other languages spoken by families at Taft Elementary, including Arabic, Swahili, Vietnamese and Somali, among others. To aid their research, they are recruiting other Boise State students and faculty to help them translate and evaluate books that children and parents may enjoy together in these languages.

For more information or to get involved, contact Tara Penry at

Beginning in spring 2018, the Books in Every Home project will be available for academic credit to all Boise State students as a Vertically Integrated Project (VIP) in the College of Innovation and Design, co-taught by Penry and Eun Hye Son, an associate professor of literacy, language and culture in the College of Education.

The Books in Every Home campaign continues through Friday, Nov 2. Students will visit classrooms and distribute books around the Thanksgiving holiday.