SOUTH HAVEN — At a time when it seems schools favor teaching students with online computer programs rather than books, a local foundation is making sure books continue to play a prominent role in K-12 education.

The South Haven Public Schools Foundation is establishing a $2,500 challenge grant to purchase books to place in classrooms throughout the school district. They hope other groups will come forward to contribute funding to match the grant.

“Books are and have been a major part of our school system, just as technology has not replaced teachers, but supplements programming and does not replace time-tested tools,” said Dr. Jeffrey Postma, a member of the Education Foundation.

“Our Education Foundation’s mission is to support teacher’s efforts to strengthen the success of all students,” Postma went on to say. “The importance of literacy is at the forefront at the local and state level. Improving literacy is consistent with South Haven’s Strategic Plan, School Improvement Plan and the state’s Top 10 in 10 Years Initiative.”

The foundation plans to purchase books for classrooms, rather than school building libraries, to encourage students to continue using books to enhance their education. Each school in the district has libraries staffed primarily by para-pros, but students often have limited access to the libraries, due to their class schedules.

“This (the purchase of books for classrooms) will allow immediate and instant access of high-interest books at appropriate reading levels for all students in a classroom,” said Dene Hadden, a member of the Education Foundation and retired South Haven High School principal. “The books will be selected by teachers by grade levels for individual classrooms. Students will be able to use these books at any time and not have to wait for library days or other opportunities to secure reading material.”