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COVID-19 causes critical need for "If You Give a Child a Book" campaign

KJRH book giveaway line.jpg
Posted at 12:00 PM, Aug 30, 2021
and last updated 2021-08-31 19:50:07-04

TULSA, Okla. — With COVID-19 causing classroom disruptions over the past year and a half, getting books to children in need is more urgent than ever.

So, 2 News Oklahoma and the Scripps Howard Foundation are launching our 6th annual 2 Cares for the Community “If You Give a Child a Book” campaign and you’re invited to help.

Earlier this year around 900 students at Ellen Ochoa Elementary were surprised with backpacks filled with new books to build home libraries.

Principal Rita Long said, “Having Channel 2 news and ‘If You Give a Child a Book’ donate those books to our students, it was just magical to watch. Students were able to go by and select books that they love and that they’re interested in.”

Since its launch in 2016, more than half of a million new books have been donated to kids living in low-income communities served by Scripps businesses. We partner with Title I schools to reach children who might not have access to books of their own.

“It’s just important for the fact that kids have ownership. It’s the value that this is my book. This is my library,” says Principal Long.

Due to the pandemic, having books at home now is that much more critical. Studies show that 60% of low-income households do not have a single book for their children, so these may be the only books that have. The school credits the book distribution for the big differences it’s seeing this back-to-school season.

“Now that they have access to books, we don't see that summer slide where students have that loss over the summer. We see students maintain their reading level and grow in reading levels. So it really does make an impact.”

It seems the program is impacting families too. This summer many families from the school district shared social media pictures with Gaining Ground Literacy, a local non-profit and partner in this effort last year.

Principal Long said, “You see not only the children with books, but then all of the sudden you see a family photo of the families with books as well. And they’re finding time to read, and it’s something that spreads through the family.”

Proof that when you give a child a book, you’re giving a gift that keeps on giving.

Join us on 2 News Oklahoma Today Thursday morning at 6 a.m. and stay tuned as we reveal the school that will be receiving donations next.

To donate to the campaign you can click here or text 2CARES to 345345.

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