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College hosts book fair to benefit Learning Tree

Megan Loney | Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Usborne Books, a supplier of educational materials, and the Learning Tree, a resource education center that benefits Saint Mary’s students and faculty as well as teachers and parents in the Michiana community, co-sponsored a book fair, which began Tuesday at the College.


The fair will continue today from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. in the Student Center Atrium.


The selection of books covers a wide range of topics including history, science and fictional stories as well as activity and learning books.


There are books for a variety of ages and the selection is quite diverse, Usborne consultant Karen Richards said.


All of the books sold at the fair are published by Usborne Books, a company founded in England that has been a presence in the United States for the past 20 years.


Usborne books are published in 71 languages. Due to their international audience, Usborne books tend to be culturally neutral, Richards said.


Richards, a former teacher, is an advocate for Usborne published books because of their educational value and good quality.


The books are commercial free — they contain no references to movies, television shows, or toy brands — and they are both fun and educational, she said.


Usborne Books will donate 50 percent of all sales from the book fair at the College in the form of free books to the Learning Tree.


Jayne Fogle, director of the Learning Tree, said last year’s book fair “turned out very nicely” for the center.


“Last year’s [book fair] was very successful and we received a very nice selection of books,” she said.


Fogle said the book fair was planned before Christmas due to the hectic nature that comes with the end of the academic semester.


She said she hopes students will be able to purchase books as Christmas gifts and that education majors at the College will be able to buy materials for some of their classes.


Though she has not yet purchased anything from the book fair, Elementary Education major Natalie Bartzen hopes she will be able to benefit from the fair’s selection in the future.


“I really like that we are able to have something like this on campus,” Bartzen said. “It is hard to know what to buy considering I do not know the grade level I will be teaching next year, but I know that it will be a great resource for when I do.”


Education students at Saint Mary’s are able to check out the books at the Learning Tree to help with their class projects and to be used when they are student teaching. Students who tutor at local schools in the community are also available to check out books.


Bartzen said she believes the center is a valuable resource.


“The Learning Tree has all the resources and more that I need for my field placement,” Bartzen said. “Jayne Fogle has all the teacher manuals, workbooks, and activities for us to refer to when creating units and plans. Also with the Ellison cutters and hundreds of cut outs the variety for projects and displays is endless.”


While the Learning Tree is mainly focused on education majors at Saint Mary’s, other College students and teachers from the South Bend School district come to the center for learning materials, Fogle said.


The Learning Tree sells a myriad of learning materials including educational games that focus on science, math, and language arts and other educational supplies. Most of the materials are geared towards students ranging from preschool to sixth grade.


The Learning Tree may charge for their services and supplies, but Fogle said this is not to make a profit.


“We charge for everything because we do not have a budget,” she said. “However, the prices are reasonable as they are only used to replenish the materials.”


The Learning Tree is open noon to 5 p.m. Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays in 251 Madaleva Hall.