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First Lady promotes ‘Book Buddy’ initiative

Indiana First Lady Judy O’Bannon delivered “Book Buddy” letters to two local elementary schools Monday, as a way of promoting the O’Bannon Book Buddy initiative.
This initiative is a letter writing activity for students which provides them an opportunity to strengthen their writing skills along with their reading skills by having them write to students at other schools about books they have read.
O’Bannon delivered letters to more than 100 fourth graders at Corydon Intermediate School which had been written to them by third graders at Indianapolis Public School Number 69 on Friday.
While in Corydon, O’Bannon encouraged students to write letters to third graders at Leavenworth Elementary School telling them about a book they had read or possibly about the book of the month, “Freckle Juice” or how much they like to read.
O’Bannon delivered these letters and in turn encouraged the Leavenworth students to write to “book buddies” at Hebron Elementary School in Evansville which she delivered later in the day. The Hebron letters will be delivered to Maplewood Elementary School in Connersville on Tuesday.
Ruthann Capelle, a fourth grade teacher at Corydon Intermediate School, said, “The children were very excited about having Mrs. O’Bannon visit with them and she took some time to talk to them about reading.
“She told them about the ‘Book Buddy’ project and had them write letters to the children at Leavenworth Elementary School, about books they liked, which she took with her.
“She also gave each child a book and a book mark. We hope to get some ongoing book buddies out of this.”
“Our students loved having the First Lady here,” said Leavenworth third grade teacher Kelly Birkla. “They were very proud and honored to have her here and they gave her some flowers. She then helped the children write letters about books they had read, and we read three or four of them to the class before she left.”
O’Bannon will be promoting this Book Buddy initiative in various parts of the state during the next few weeks, a spokesman said.
The O’Bannon Book Buddy initiative Web site is and includes reading lists for kids, books of the month and an opportunity for students to submit reviews of favorite books. It also features the state’s reading standards and tips to help children learn to read.