A very special place in Calgary, completely devoted to reading, had some special visitors on Wednesday who have been tasked with the responsibility to improve literacy at their school.

20 Kindergarten to Grade 9 students, from Windsong Heights School in Airdrie, were given a donation from their community’s Rotary Club as well as Indigo Books, to purchase books for their school.

The timing couldn’t be better because not only is it World Read Aloud Day, administrators at the school declared February as ‘The Love of Reading Month’.

The group needed a little help to pick out some good reads, so they visited The Children’s Reading Place in Inglewood for some ideas.

Joan Green, director of development at Calgary Reads, says the building is one of the organization’s biggest initiatives to help promote reading in different communities.

“It’s about inspiring kids and families to make time and a place for reading in their lives. We know that there’s so much competition now with technology,” she says. “It’s really important that kids become readers because reading is connected to success in life and in school.”

The principal of Windsong Heights School, Penny Beaudry, says they’ve planned lots of different activities at their school to celebrate the month, including Wednesday’s special trip.

“We have a partnership with Calgary Reads, so this was an invitation from them. We also have a partnership with Save-On Foods and they provided the funding for the bussing to come.”

Beaudry says there needs to be a balance of technology and books in every child’s life.

“Having a book, a book you can hang onto, is so important for kids. We know that kids who read do better in life, do better in schoo. I think that becoming a reader helps you self-regulate and it helps open up the world in a whole different way.”

Green says reading can begin as soon as a child is born.

“A lot of parents don’t realize that. They say ‘that happens when kids go to Kindergarten.’ But it’s really about that enjoyment of books together, that language going back and forth between an adult and a child that is how we start to build their brains and get them ready to become a reader.”

When the group finished up with their visit, they headed to Indigo to spend the money they fundraised on new books for the school.

Over 7,000 people have visited The Children’s Reading Place since its inception. Families can learn more and book their own free visit online.

(With files from Kevin Fleming)