LINKEDINCOMMENTMORE

HOUSTON Facebook. Twitter. Instagram. In the midst of the social media boom, has literature lost its lure? One local teen says not a chance and she s hoping to bring the focus back to books.

Claudia Heymach, a high school sophomore, came up with a wonderful idea to make reading a priority for local students.

It was a bit of an experiment, she said. Especially around the ages of middle school and elementary school where kids usually drop off reading in favor of electronics. So I really want to foster a love of reading in them.

Heymach holds book drives at HISD s High School for the Performing and Visual Arts. Her first collection brought in nearly 400,000 books.

I was so excited! It s something that makes sense. Like, why haven t we been doing this, said Judith Switick, a creative writing teacher, said.

Claudia also hosts events with local kids through the Galveston-based Smart Family Literacy group and has started her own literacy club at school.

Maybe around first grade I started reading chapter books, started loving reading. I think that s really my motivation, said Heymach.

Reading, she says, has helped her academic focus, in addition to giving her an artistic outlet.

Heymach has been featured in her school s literary magazine and her writing has won regional and national recognition.

I always tell students, You get what you put into it and she puts a lot into it. She s a beautiful poet and an outstanding student, said Switick.

Heymach is already planning another book drive and will start a mentoring program next year where HSPVA students will work with elementary school students to improve their reading and writing skills.

LINKEDINCOMMENTMORE
Read or Share this story: http://www.khou.com/story/news/local/outreach/2014/07/23/12048090/