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13 READS: Allegan Co. school librarian builds giant igloo to promote literacy

"Everybody loves to read, they just have to find the right book," said Hamilton Middle School librarian Sue Becksford.

HAMILTON, Mich. — The month of March is designated as National Reading Month, but all year round, 13 ON YOUR SIDE promotes literacy around West Michigan through the 13 READS initiative.

That mission led us to an Allegan County woman who's passion for reading is so strong, she even built a life-size igloo out of plastic cartons just to inspire students to read.

Sue Becksford is the librarian at Hamilton Middle School, and said she's made it her mission to promote literacy and make reading fun however she can.

"Because everybody loves to read, they just have to find the right book," Becksford said.

And although she loves National Reading Month, Becksford still thinks, "every month is reading month."

But still, to celebrate every March, she creates a new theme for the library to encourage and inspire reading for her middle school students.

"Anything to get them into the library, and find something that they like to read," said Becksford.

This year's theme is "Reading Is Cool," and it's centerpiece is a giant igloo made entirely out of milk cartons.

"I just wanted to do something different and fun because school has been really hard during COVID," Becksford said, "and we needed some fun things."

Becksford started collecting the cartons more than a month ago, and with help of other school staff, her husband and a lot of hot glue, she made this igloo come to life.

She also brought in an old snow mobile to let the kids sit on as part of all the fun. 

"It's so important to have a good foundation, and middle school kind of sends them on their way into the next step in their future," Becksford said. 

And also as part of the March celebrations, every Wednesday, Becksford hosts a different themed day, like Wacky Wednesday or Snack Wednesday.

And it's all just to help inspire literacy in her students.

"Getting off the screen and reading a book is always important," she said. "It's good for your eyes, and it's good for your mind."

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