TULSA, Okla. — If you give a child a book, you can take them to new places, plant seeds for future success, and help break the cycle of poverty.
Studies show many children in low-income communities lack access to books needed to become competent readers.
That’s why 2 News Oklahoma and the Scripps Howard Foundation are so passionate about the “If You Give A Child A Book” childhood literacy campaign.
We are preparing to roll out a new set of books to a new set of students, but we need your help.
When elementary school student Kennedy Crisp picks out a book, the Harry Potter series is her favorite. Just like Harry’s wizarding world, there’s something about a book that casts a spell on her. “It just calms me,” she tells 2 News Oklahoma.
She’s not alone. Every day the magic of reading unlocks new adventures for the Students at Walt Whitman Elementary School in North Tulsa.
Assistant Principal Annie Gallagher tells us, “Our kids love adventure. They love comedy. Some of them love horror. They want to read sort of anything you can offer to them.” And while the shelves are full inside the school library, many of the students here don’t have a single book of their own at home.
Walt Whitman Reading Specialist Leah Ruthven says, “We are technically a Title I District, so most of our kids are on free and reduced lunches. So access to books will either be coming from our library or a public library so it can be limited in access of books for them sometimes.”
However, that’s about to change. The students at Walt Whitman Elementary are next up to receive backpacks brimming with new books of their own. Every student will have the opportunity to select 10 quality, age-appropriate books for their home libraries. Studies show that while many factors affect a child’s ability to read, none has a more direct impact than having books to read at home.
“Having books of their own is invaluable. It’s just a way for them to have something that is their own,” says Ruthven. “It’s significant because for the kids it means It’s just mine. I can read it when I want, I don’t have that time pressure to get it done. So I think it’s very exciting for them to have their own book,” adds Vice-Principal Gallagher.
Teachers add when kids are surrounded by books where they live, that increases comprehension, awareness, and focus. It also re-enforces lessons learned at school. Just ask Kennedy, who is always working to make every word count.
She says, “When I come across a word I don’t know, I grab a piece of paper and a pencil and I write it down and then I spell it until I can get it in my head and actually say it.”
Proof that if you give a child a book, you’re building big vocabularies, and even bigger dreams.
Fundraising is underway right now for the “If You Give A Child A Book” campaign. Every 5 dollar donation buys one book for a child who needs it most. To donate you can text “2Cares” to 345345 or click on this link.
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