CLEVELAND — Two out of three Clevelanders are functionally illiterate.
It's a problem that’s been plaguing the city for decades.
News 5 is committed to overcoming the city’s low literacy levels by partnering with the Scripps Howard Foundation for our “If You Give a Child a Book…” campaign.
Friday, you can help us put books into the hands of children from low-income families, furthering their education, fueling their dreams, and breaking the cycle of poverty.
Every $5 donated buys one book for a child at Wade Park School in Cleveland.
“It’s been going good. I'm happy to see my classmates, reconnect with them because I haven't seen them in a minute,” said Jordyn Smith, an 8th-grade gifted student at Wade Park School.
Students have been in school for three weeks now. Smith picked up with her friends Endia Hill and Domnique Woodson right where they left off last school year by bonding over their similarities.
They all wear braids in their hair, they all pick math as their favorite subject, and they all love reading.
“I can read books, get into it, and enjoy what's happening in a book and be active with it,” said Woodson.
“I kind of like drama and mystery because it really pulls me in. That’s what I like,” said Hill.
That love was instilled in them at home when they were younger and now, it's nurtured by their teacher, Melissa Moran. Moran teaches the 7th and 8th-grade gifted students at Wade Park School.
“It's 100% important for the students to get their foundation when they're younger, and just to develop that love of reading as a child through picture books, whatever, just so that when they come to me that they have that love and they want to continue on their reading journey,” said Moran.
But establishing a foundation is not so easy for many other kids.
According to the Cleveland Kids’ Book Bank, two out of three low-income kids don’t have books to call their own.
That's crucial because studies show that a child’s future academic growth and career opportunities are positively impacted by having lots of books at home.
“As a teacher, I definitely see a wide variety of reading levels and then also different levels of interest in books, I think, which often will lead to different reading levels within the classroom,” said Moran.
As a Title 1 school, 100% of Wade Park’s students are from low-income families.
So last year, News 5 partnered with the school for our "If You Give a Child a Book..." campaign. We, along with donations from community members, were able to raise enough money to provide students with six books each that they could keep and take home.
“I was happy because I never had the chance for people to give me books like that. I always had to go to the library and check them out,” said Hill.
For these three classmates, the books are furthering that ever-important love of reading and making an impact on them and their peers that will last for years to come.
“That was very important because I like reading books at home in my own space, of course, and I was glad that I was able to take books from here and go home with them,” said Smith.
“It makes me feel happy like I have opportunities some people didn't have, and I'm grateful for what I do have,” said Woodson.
To donate to the Scripps Howard Foundation’s “If You Give a Child a Book” campaign, click here.
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