LANSING, Mich. — Willow Elementary School in Lansing received 942 books Wednesday as a part of Fox 47’s annual “If You Give A Child A Book” campaign.
“We know that reading is so foundational for our students, and, to put good quality materials in front of them to take home and read, it's a blessing in disguise. So we're very excited,” said Shannon Homer, a first-grade teacher at Willow Elementary.
With the “If You Give A Child A Book” campaign, Fox 47 News and the Scripps Howard Foundation are working to make an impact on childhood literacy in mid-Michigan. More than 60 percent of low-income families cannot afford to have books in their homes.
“Knowing that the community is supporting literacy and selected our school for this opportunity. So many of our students really enjoy being able to come in select books that are of high-interest books, that reflects some of the things that they enjoy. It really helps generate a lot of interest for reading,” said Ebonia Williams, a third-grade teacher at Willow Elementary.
More than 200 students at Willow Elementary can each pick out four books this week. The books were brought to the school through a partnership with scholastic.
“I learned from books like how nature is actually really fun to be in,” said Willow Elementary student Allison Lamp.
Student Massiah Williams said his favorite books are comic books.
“Your mind goes to a different place. And then after you get done reading the book, you want to imagine and pretend like you are somewhere or like in a palace or something like that,” Williams said.
After every child picks their books, teachers can choose seven books for their classrooms.
“We want our children to become lifelong readers, writers, and thinkers,” said reading specialist Bena Hartman.
Teachers say reading books aloud to children expands their understanding of the world.
“It is so important for parents to read out loud and with their students. They learn to hear fluency and to decode words that they are sure of. And it's just a great bonding time for parents and children to read together at night,” Homer said.
Student Raine Hinton said, “I read with my grandma and sometimes by myself.”
Homer said that she has found that even students who are still learning how to read love to have books in their hands.
“This is the foundation right here. Reading at home is so important,” Hartman said.
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