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'Working hard to close the literacy gap': 300 Cleveland students get loads of new books to read

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Posted at 6:10 PM, Jan 25, 2023
and last updated 2023-01-25 18:53:26-05

CLEVELAND — At Stephanie Tubbs Jones School in Cleveland, each of the nearly 300 students in grades pre-K through eighth have new books to add to their libraries at home, thanks to a Scholastic book fair made possible with a campaign you can be proud of.

"As educators, we're always working hard to close the literacy gap and this is the start," said Principal Natalie Benson.

Benson says books and reading are key to all the scholars at Stephanie Tubbs Jones School.

"In pre-K through third grade, they are learning how to read, and once they get to third grade they transition to read to learn," she said, helping them with problem-solving and critical thinking.

"So, this is a magnificent experience because even our older scholars can pick books that they're interested in and will motivate them to read even more, including for pleasure!" she said.

This past summer, News 5 employees and viewers donated to the annual “If You Give a Child a Book Campaign.” News 5 raised $18,000 and the results are now in the hands of students in the form of the book fair.

The book fair underway this week at Stephanie Tubbs Jones is the first of two book fairs this year at the school. Plus, there was also enough to hold a book fair at Wade Park Elementary School. Kids can pick five free books.

A child who can’t read at grade level by third grade is four times less likely to graduate from high school. If this same child lives in poverty, they are 13 times less likely to graduate.

Third grader, Emerald, said she cried when she saw all the books at the book fair that she got to pick from. She says she loves reading so much. Especially, with her mom.

Emerald's mom, Brittany McGlothin, who is also the parent ambassador at Stephanie Tubbs School, says reading at home is a special time for her family to connect and makes sure that her daughter is reading at the level she should be.

Children whose parents are involved with them in family literacy activities score 10 points higher on standardized reading tests, research shows.

Giving a child a book can help mold them, empower them and allow them to be the authors of their own destiny.

"I encourage my kids, not just my biological children but all my babies here at the school, to pick up a book; you never know where it'll take you," said McGlothin. "You never know what door it's going to open in your mind, and you'll say, 'I like that' or 'That's interesting to me!'"

The "If You Give a Child a Book” campaign is led by the Scripps Howard Fund, which is the philanthropic branch of the News 5 parent company, E.W. Scripps Company.

It has been underway since 2016, with the goal of getting as many books as possible into the hands of kids who otherwise can’t afford them.

You can still donate, click here.

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