St. Thomas Academy Students Benefit from Spark! Creative Learning Grant


(Students of St. Thomas Academy’s second grade with middle school teacher Jodi Hettiger (front row left), who assisted with implementing the art/reading program under the leadership of second-grade teacher Lynn Fleenor (right). | Photo Courtesy of St. Thomas Academy)

There’s no question behind the importance of fostering a love for reading among youth, particularly given today’s digital, media-driven world. What’s more, research shows that using art to inspire a love for reading is a proven, powerful motivator for reading more, which is why St. Thomas Academy is thrilled to be the recipient of a grant that does just that.

St. Thomas Academy recently learned that it received a $996 Spark! Creative Learning Grant bestowed by SELCO Community Credit Union. The grant has enabled second-grade teacher Lynn Fleenor to purchase a collection of Caldecott Award-winning books that will not only be highlighted through a dedicated reading program but celebrated through art projects highlighting each prestigious book. The grant also supports art supply costs. Thanks to these resources, the reading-art connection can become more purposeful, simultaneously nurturing both reading and art.

“When children feel a connection to a book or its illustrations, they tend to read it again and again, strengthening their reading over time,” Fleenor says. “Those students who have not yet connected with a book through its words can be drawn to its illustrations and practice their reading as they peruse the pictures. In this way, a love of reading and art can be fostered.”

After the books are read and the art projects are complete, the books will be on display with the children’s art at the school.

“We’d like to thank SELCO Community Credit Union for their generous gift and for recognizing the value of reading,” Fleenor says. “There’s a critical window in every student’s life where we can inspire a love for reading as well as art. Through this program and with these amazing books and new art supplies, St. Thomas Academy can better accomplish those goals for its students.”

Those interested in learning more about the grant, the reading program, or the reading-art connection offered at St. Thomas Academy through the Spark! Creative Learning Grant are invited to contact Fleenor or St. Thomas Academy at 541-815-1251 or




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