Mitzvot from the heart: Bridget Rennard, Congregation Shaare Emeth

Early childhood education students hold books distributed through the Ready Readers program. Bridget Rennard volunteered to read to students and distribute books as her bat mitzvah project.

A public school in the Dogtown neighborhood had the good fortune of having Bridget Rennard read to their early childhood education class. Daughter of Mindy and Gordon Rennard of Chesterfield, Bridget wanted to share her passion for reading and dedicated every Friday afternoon for eight months to these kids, ages 3 to 6.

Reading to the same class gave Bridget the opportunity to really get to know the students. In addition to reading, she provided stimulating reading-related activities. She also would occasionally distribute new books for each child to take home and keep.

“I really enjoyed the project because I loved to see the smiles on the kids’ faces when they received a book,” said Bridget, who is a student at Parkway Central Middle School. “When I would give a child a book, they would hold it like it was the most amazing thing they’d ever seen,” she continued.

Ready Readers is a St. Louis-based nonprofit organization dedicated to inspiring preschool children from low-income communities to become readers. Bridget volunteered at Wilkinson-Roe, one of 43 St. Louis public elementary schools that receive federal funding for early childhood education. The preschool classrooms are known as Head Start classrooms. For more information about Ready Readers, go to

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