The Duncan Banner

November 17, 2013

Empire students celebrate reading

Rebeka Miller
The Duncan Banner

DUNCAN — To finish off an entire week of celebrating reading, Empire Public Schools students received a special guest on Friday.

Oklahoma author Darleen Bailey Beard visited the school to provide presentations to the elementary classes, as well as for the junior high and high school students. The author’s visit was made possible by a donation from Ted and Nancy Bowling with Morgan Stanley.

“I live in Norman,” Beard told the students. “I’m so happy to be here at Empire.”

Beard took her audience through the journey of how she fell in love with writing stories. Born in Pennsylvania, the author’s family moved to Oklahoma when she was 12 and most of her six published books are set in Oklahoma.

“I was in fifth grade and 10 years old when I found out I was good at writing stories,” said Beard.

Beard told the students of how her teacher that year had her class take their vocabulary words home and make a story out of it. A shy young girl, Beard’s teacher had her read the stories she wrote out loud in front of the class. It turned out, her class loved them.

“My first book, I dedicated to my teacher,” she said.

The author’s visit, along with several other activities students took part in throughout the week were part of Read Oklahoma, a state-wide literacy initiative.

“We’ve had a dress up day every day and today was favorite book character day,” said Angela Leu, who organized several of the activities. “We had a book exchange on Tuesday and yesterday, the high school students read to the elementary classes.”