AMS is ‘Kindling’

Published 1:50 am Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Readers at Andalusia Middle School, along with media specialist Kay Fagerstrom, pose with the school’s new Kindle collection. Shown are Adam Peek, Ian Peek, Caroline Andrews, Shay Thomas, Taylor Griffin, Lillian Andrew, Ora Nelson, Miracle McCaskill and Gabby Godwin. Photographer/Star-News

Call it an innovative way to “kindle” a love of reading in students.

Kay Fagerstrom, Andalusia Middle School media specialist, said by next week, the school library will have 13 of Amazon’s Kindle e-readers available to loan to students.

“When students returned after Christmas, we were bombarded by students who received some type of electronic reading device,” Fagerstrom said. “Parents said they’d purchased these devices to entice their reluctant readers, and it was working.

“If you think about it, kindergarteners in the classroom today, have never been without a computer,” she said. “This is their world, full of computers and electronic devices. These e-readers aren’t a passing phase.

“At AMS, we needed to either get with it or risk being behind,” she said. “And even though we’re in a small town, we’re going to give our students the best resources we can. Right now, it’s the Kindle.”

She said Amazon statistics report the sale of e-books outsell both hardback and paperback books. Plus, in its electronic format, students aren’t intimidated by the size of a book, she said.

With the cuts to the education budget, Fagerstrom said the e-readers proved to be an economical choice to expanding the library’s collection.

Each device is $79. On average, an e-book costs $9.99 and can be loaded on as many as six devices. The average cost of a hardback book is $26.

“Libraries get more bang for their buck with e-books,” Fagerstrom said. “E-books never get lost, damaged or wear out. Many books, especially the classics, are free.

The current Kindle library, both devices and books, were made possible through private donations and from parents like John Peek, whose sons Adam and Ian attend AMS, Fagerstrom said.

“The school has its own Amazon account, and we’ve had people donate Amazon gift cards to the library – which has been fantastic,” she said.

Each of the 13 devices will be preloaded with 13-15 titles ranging from the classics from Jack London and Jules Verne; “chick lit” from Melanie Carlson and the ever popular Rick Riordan’s “Son of Neptune” series and Christopher Paolini’s “Inheritance” series to the latest Nicholas Spark’s novel.

Fagerstrom said students can use their own Kindles, and plans are under way to link the devices to the Andalusia Public Library’s e-book program, which is expected to be under way in the coming weeks.

As time progresses, she hopes to increase the device library to 35 to accommodate class projects.


“This whole project is a work in progress,” Fagerstrom said. “We’ve worked out all the things we can think of, but as time goes on, we’ll find more ways to implement (the devices) in the classroom.

“I hope, as time goes on, to upgrade our models and add to our collection,” she said.