Ankeny Teacher Hooks Students on Reading, Awarded Golden Apple

ANKENY, Iowa -- Things are a little old school in Joy DeJong’s fifth grade classroom at Southeast Elementary School.

“Typically, they use the old fashioned paper book,” she smiles.

Her students don't seem to mind. No matter the book, they just enjoy reading. That wasn't always the case for Brandon Thaut.

“It really felt like homework, like something we needed to do. But now it feels like something we can do and we want to do it,” Thaut says.

Since the start of DeJong’s teaching career 35  years  ago, that’s been her mission, making reading fun now so kids will enjoy reading later.

“When you give them the choice to read you let them find the magic of a good story," DeJong says.

In DeJong’s book of life, she too has an exciting chapter. About a year ago, she bought an old horse trailer and turned it into a book mobile. During summer break, she stocks the trailer full of books in an effort to keep kids reading.

“I think this is our time when we can really get them hooked on reading.”

On November 6th, IMT Insurance along with Channel 13 News awarded the teacher with the Golden Apple Award.