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To put quality, age-appropriate books into the hands and homes of at-risk young children before they start kindergarten so they can be ready to succeed in school and life.

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AUBURN - Freshmen enrolled in Auburn University's Liberal Arts and the Public Good Learning Community spent spring semester discussing and learning first-hand how reading enriches the human experience. They recently found out they had earned more than just a grade for their efforts.

As their final project, the students wrote grant applications for a total of $2,000 to be used to provide books to area preschoolers. The Community Foundation of the Chattahoochee Valley and the Central Alabama Community Foundation has notified the students that their grant applications have been approved. The grant funds will be used to buy books for distribution to preschoolers in Chambers and Macon counties through class partner, Jean Dean Reading is Fundamental of Opelika.

In class, the learning community students discussed reading materials designed to help them reflect on the arts and humanities. The students then headed out into the community to read to preschoolers at nearby Head Start centers and also to learn about the socio-economic challenges facing many communities. The next step was to give a public presentation to funders and prepare grant applications outlining the need for young children to have exposure to books and literature.

"Not only were we taught how to work together with those organizations, but we shared in the rewards of their passion and generosity," student Rachel Little said. "Who would have thought that a skill we all take for granted could bring smiles to so many young faces? We hope our efforts will instill a love for learning among these children."

The students enrolled in Auburn's Liberal Art and the Public Good Learning Community take classes together that explore how liberal arts disciplines impact society and enrich the human experience. For more information about the different learning communities in the College of Liberal Arts, go to http://www.auburn.edu/academic/provost/undergrad_studies/support/learning_communities/CLALC.htm.