Canadian County librarian helping local elementary students

Okarche Elementary School librarian Ann Hufnagel, left, second grade teachers Kaci Short and Ginny Grellner, and second grade aide Sherrie Stewart take the opportunity to share the Reading Across America event in a second-grade classroom. (Photo provided)

By Beth Schieber
Contributing Writer

Ann Hufnagel, Okarche Elementary School librarian, gathered extra or dated copies of appropriate-age library books, stacked them on her cart and invited Pre-K through second grade students to select a favorite book to take home.

Hufnagal says she was inspired by the opportunity to share the Read Across Oklahoma event with the younger students and give them a chance to pick out a book to keep as their own.

While watching the event virtually, students were able to take a tour of the OKC Zoo and learn about some of the animals as well as hear several Oklahomans read different stories.

Edmond author Tammi Sauer shared her book “Wordy Birdy.”

“My hope is to help these young students develop a love of reading,” Hufnagel said.

Pre-kindergarten through second-grade teachers Caitlin Timmons, Randi Muniz, Kaci Short, Marianne Austin, Ginny Grellner, Tiffany Wittrock and Debbie Westphal and second grade aide Sherrie Stewart fully supported and helped to realize Hufnagel’s plan.


Principal Chris Roby said, “Our faculty and staff know the importance of reading as our students progress and take every opportunity to make reading fun as well as instructive. Read Across Oklahoma is one more opportunity to do just that. This activity gives added depth and variety to our reading programs such as Literacy Night, Book Fairs, Accelerated Reader and tutoring programs.”

The premiere literary event for preschool and early grade students returned this year on April 13. Read Across America is part of the statewide “My First Library” program coordinated by the Oklahoma Department of Libraries, an early literacy initiative that helps develop literary skills and promotes family reading.

Several OES teachers participated in the virtual activities available at the Oklahoma Department of Libraries website ( In addition to meeting an Oklahoma author and listening to guests reading favorite children’s books, site visitors could enjoy performances by popular children’s musical group Spaghetti Eddie, additional storytelling, and more.