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Fort Myers students receive free books during the annual "If You Give a Child A Book" campaign

Posted at 3:05 PM, Feb 06, 2024
and last updated 2024-02-06 15:05:53-05

FORT MYERS, Fla. — In an inspiring event at Villas Elementary, students had an opportunity to add to their personal libraries, as each child selected two books to keep, courtesy of a collaboration aimed at fostering a love for reading among young learners.

Isaiah, a student at Villas Elementary, shared his enthusiasm for the event, noting the importance of reading. "Why is reading so important? Because you get to learn pronunciations and new vocab words," he explained.

This special gift of literacy is made possible each year through the partnership between FOX 4, the Scripps Howard Fund, Scholastic, and local schools. The program focuses on providing two free books to students, emphasizing the critical phase of kindergarten through third grade, where mastering reading is essential.

Lisa Rogers, a literacy coach at the school, pointed out the deeper impact of reading on students' development. "What they don't even realize is happening in the background is they're growing connections, they're growing their vocabulary, they're learning more complex sentence structure," she said.

The campaign aims to lay a strong educational foundation by making books accessible to all children, especially those from underprivileged backgrounds. Brittany Owen, a support resource teacher, highlighted the significance of this program for Title 1 school students who might not have frequent access to libraries or resources to expand their home libraries.

"Having this opportunity to have two books to bring home with them, and they get to choose them based on their interest, is something that's really rewarding for them," Owen stated.

The selection of books provided represents a diverse array of cultures, beliefs, races, and ethnicities, promoting positive self-esteem, empathy, and acceptance among the students.

To support the ongoing effort to bring books to children, the community is encouraged to contribute to the "If You Give A Child A Book" campaign. Donations can be made by visiting fox4now.com/giveabook.