Teacher's work for literacy earns award

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Traci Nelson's passion is literature.

"I love books; that's why I moved into the media center," said Ms. Nelson, Aiken Elementary School's teacher of the year. She recently received an author's award for her efforts in promoting literacy.

Karen Petit, a Columbia author whose four books include the Shandon's Ivy League Mystery Series for children, presented Ms. Nelson with a trophy and a set of her books for the Aiken Elementary library. The presentation was part of the Aiken Children's Book Festival on Sept. 20 at Aiken Technical College.

"This is the second year. In 2007, I started honoring an educator who went above and beyond to inspire young people to read," said Ms. Petit, a former newspaper reporter who works for the University of South Carolina's media relations office.

The first award was given to Ms. Petit's first-grade teacher, who lives in Greenwood, S.C.

The Ivy Award is named for Ms. Petit's Labrador/chow mix, who died in May. Ivy was also the source of inspiration for the children's mystery series and another book, A Paw on My Heart, which focused on the way animals help people.

"She changed my life," Ms. Petit said of Ivy.

Ms. Petit will follow up the award presentation with a visit to Ms. Nelson's media center.

"It's exciting," Ms. Nelson said of the award.

Ms. Nelson said she works to inspire children to read through many activities at the school, including book talks and visits by authors. She's working with the Parent-Teacher Association to revitalize the school's library by adding popular works and classic books.

Reach Charmain Z. Brackett at charmain.brackett@augustachronicle.com.


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