Make us your home page
Instagram

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Brooksville Learning Tree prekindergarteners get personalized books to encourage reading

BROOKSVILLE — Marla Banta likes to make books and give them away. Of course, she would like to sell some. But when it comes to schools, the money is not important to her.

Banta doesn't write the stories; she makes the books. Using a book-producing computer program — offered at bestpersonalizedbooks.com — she personalizes stories for each child. She recently gave 26 of the books to children at the Learning Tree, a nationally accredited child care center and volunteer prekindergarten, owned and directed by Gloria and Shane Harris.

"They love these books," Gloria Harris said. "They see their names in them. They see their teacher's name and their school."

Banta, 60, can't do this for free, but she doesn't charge the schools. She gets sponsors, with the Harrises' help. Sponsors are listed in the backs of the books.

"The advertisers, they're the people that make it possible," said Shane Harris.

If the school receives more donations than necessary to cover the cost, Banta gives the excess to the school. When helping young readers, she keeps nothing.

"I'll make the books at no charge to them, their guardians or their parents," she said. It is a lot of work, but she said she does it "because I believe if children can read, they can do anything."

Banta also likes the idea of the children having something personalized.

"My name is Marla," she said. "Growing up, all my friends had things with their names on them, and I didn't."

There are more than 40 stories on the program she uses. She reviews them, types in the children's names and prints out the pages. She goes through a lot of toner. The most recent book, School is Fun, included each child's name, town, school and teacher.

"The child is the character throughout the whole school," Banta said. The books "promote the joy of reading. They're unique keepsakes."

Upon receiving the book and hearing it read, Breanna Stephens, 4, said, "I love this part," indicating where the children appear to be writing or coloring.

"I like the raccoon part," said 5-year-old Corbin Chesser, referring to a rascally raccoon.

Noah Williams, 4, liked the page where the bears were playing, coloring, playing music "and painting," he said.

"This is the third or fourth time we did this," Gloria Harris said. "This is going to stay with them and promote reading."

Brooksville Learning Tree prekindergarteners get personalized books to encourage reading 11/29/11 [Last modified: Tuesday, November 29, 2011 11:19am]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. After offseason of work hard, play hard, DeSean Jackson ready to produce for Bucs

    Bucs

    TAMPA — There's no telling what DeSean Jackson will do once he gets a football in his hands. Perhaps that's why a camera crew followed his every move Wednesday while the Bucs' new $30 million receiver stood on a step of the hot tub that empties into a spacious, azure pool at his new, sprawling five-bedroom home in …

    DeSean Jackson jokes around with girlfriend Kayla Phillips at their Tampa home as a crew from HBO’s Hard Knocks documents their day.
  2. Trump announces $10 billion Foxconn plant in Wisconsin

    Politics

    WASHINGTON — President Donald Trump said Wednesday that electronics giant Foxconn will build a $10 billion factory in Wisconsin that's expected to initially create 3,000 jobs, the largest economic development project in state history.

    President Donald Trump embraces Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker in the East Room of the White House during an announcement Wednesday that Foxconn is going to build a plant in Wisconsin.
  3. Playoff chase heats up for Rays with key series at Yankees up first (w/ video)

    The Heater

    ST. PETERSBURG

    It was important that Evan Longoria crushed a two-run homer in the sixth inning Wednesday and Steven Souza Jr. blasted a solo shot off the farthest catwalk an inning later.

    Adeiny Hechavarria (11) and Tim Beckham (1) celebrate the double play to end the top of the sixth inning. [WILL VRAGOVIC   |   Times]
  4. Conservatives come to Sessions' defense amid Trump attacks

    Politics

    WASHINGTON — Congressional Republicans and influential conservatives rallied around Attorney General Jeff Sessions on Wednesday as President Donald Trump kept up his public pelting of the nation's top law enforcement officer and left his future in doubt.

    Attorney General Jeff Sessions
  5. Jones: Alex Cobb proves again why he's Rays' stopper, no matter how long he's here (w/ video)

    The Heater

    ST. PETERSBURG

    If a team hopes to hang around the pennant race, it better have an ace. A stopper. A pitcher it can count on every fifth day to stop the bleeding, keep a winning streak going or flat-out win a game that a team flat-out needs to win.

    Rays starting pitcher Alex Cobb (53) throwing the first inning. [WILL VRAGOVIC   |   Times]