Teacher hopes grant will help get her kids hooked on reading

By WEEK Producer

September 18, 2013 Updated Sep 19, 2013 at 9:40 AM CDT

EUREKA, Ill. -- Reading, writing and arithmetic are essential lessons in the first grade. But for one local teacher, the reading part is a challenge with a lack of books in her classroom.

Mrs. Spence is a first grade teacher at Davenport Elementary School in Eureka. She taught Kindergarten for seven years, but due to budget cuts she had to graduate up this year. With the new classroom she quickly noticed something missing.

"I had a lack of books that the kids would be able to read. I had a lot that they could look at for picture books, but not ones that they could pick up and read and feel successful about themselves," said first grade teacher Stacy Spence.

"I like reading a lot, it's really fun," said first grader Cameron Mean.

A love of reading is taught at an early age, but she says not everyone is on the same page.

"I have everything from a non-reader in here, all the way up to a level P and I know teachers will know what I'm saying by that. So that's a three grade level span in here," said Mrs. Spence.

Mrs. Spence was nominated by her husband Jason, who wanted to buy her some new books after hearing her struggles, but soon found out how expensive they are.

"I didn't know how much, at least books for schools, actually were until we started diving into it," said Jason Spence, Stacy's husband.

Mrs. Spence doesn't know how many books $1,000 will buy, but says she is happy to find out.