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Riley Elementary students receive books from ABC 27's 'If You Give a Child a Book..." campaign

Posted at 6:30 PM, Jan 21, 2021
and last updated 2021-01-29 12:35:26-05

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WTXL) — A solid foundation of literacy is critical to a child's academic and professional success in the future. Sadly, not all kids have access to books.

That's why ABC 27 partnered with John G. Riley Elementary School for our "If you Give a Child a Book Campaign." On Jan. 21, students were able to add to their growing home libraries.

We streamed the book fair live on our ABC 27 Facebook page.

"You get smarter and not just any type of smart," said D'Mioah Gallon, a student at Riley elementary. "You get excellent smart."

That's what the gift of reading gives to students. But many don't have access to books at home, something that ABC 27 and the Scripps Howard Foundation are changing together.

"Our goal has always been to increase the reading capacity of our students here at Riley," said April Knight, the principal at John G. Riley Elementary.

That goal has become a reality through ABC 27's "If you Give a Child a Book Campaign."

This is the second year ABC 27 employees have raised money to give kids their very own books, to read again and again.

"Not all of our kids can afford the books," said Shannon Gaines, a kindergarten teacher at Riley Elementary. "So to be able to every child gets a book - that means a lot to us as teachers and of course to the kids as well."

"It's important to read," said London Smith, who is a 4th grader. "It teaches you a lot of things about yourself and what you want to be when you grow up."

Principal Knight says getting the books has increased students reading levels, fostered a love for books, and instilled pride in ownership.

"You'll see students walking into the cafeteria with their books as they are eating lunch or finishing up lunch. They are taking their books with them," said Knight.

Each nine-week grading period, Riley has the 'Principal's Challenge.' Part of that challenge is for every student in the school to meet their accelerated reading goals.

"We were able to celebrate at least double the amount of students that we did in the first nine weeks," said Knight.

The school set a goal for the number of books students read and then tested them for proficiency.

"The students, the second nine weeks, exceeded their goal by over 1,000 books," Knight said. "So we have more than doubled our goal for the third nine weeks for our students to read 4,000 books."

Books opening up new worlds for students at Riley Elementary.