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Longview elementary receives Ben Carson Reading Room

By Bridget Ortigo
March 27, 2015 at 4:30 a.m.

Aiyana Hawkins, 7, right, and Addison Fields, 6, read books after a ribbon cutting ceremony for the new Ben Carson Reading Room Thursday, March 26, 2015, at Ware Elementary. (Les Hassell/News-Journal Photo)

Ware Elementary School first-grader Aiyana Hawkins loves to read.

"You can go anywhere when you read," Aiyana said Thursday. "It all depends on your imagination."

Aiyana was one of the school's first students to try out the new Ben Carson Reading Room on Thursday. The addition was made possible by the Ben Carson Reading Project and Carson Scholars Fund.

Ben Carson, an author and pediatric neurosurgeon who retired from Johns Hopkins Children's Center, was appointed by former President George W. Bush in 2004 to serve on the President's Council on Bioethics. He and his wife, Candy Carson, began the reading project to promote literacy nationwide.

Ware Elementary School is one of six Texas schools to receive a Ben Carson Reading Room, which were awarded to 120 schools nationwide.

Students on Thursday got the first look at their new reading area, complete with more than 500 new books suitable for students in pre-kindergarten through fifth grade.

"This is my new favorite red chair," Aiyana said while lounging with a book in hand. "This is exciting. I love Junie B. Jones books; they're my favorite."

Fifth-grader Missael Olvera was across the room checking out a book on military weaponry.

"This is exciting for all of us. This gives us a chance to improve our learning and come and de-stress," Missael said. "My favorite author is Rick Riordan; he writes the Percy Jackson books.

"I can't wait to read all these new books. This is way more comfortable than the reading area in the library."

The project also was made possible by the Texas Spine and Joint Hospital.

"It's very important to read, study and learn," Texas Spine and Joint Dr. Claire Tibiletti said Thursday. "I still read for fun today."

Tibiletti said she hopes students use the room to relax and read any book they like — not because they have to but because they want to.

"This is a great opportunity for them to relax, in the quiet, and just pick up any book they want and read for the fun of it," Tibiletti said.

Carson credited reading to his success life.

"When I was a particularly bad student, my mother turned off the TV and made us start reading books," Carson said via video presentation. "I think all of the reading I did earlier in my life gave me the mindset I needed to be successful."

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