Education

In effort to boost reading, 30,000 in CMS will get a free book

Staff reports

Read Charlotte gives 30,000 books to CMS students pre-k to 3rd grade

Munro Richardson, Read Charlotte executive director, and Superintendent Ann Clark gave books to third-grade students at Lebanon Road Elementary School.
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Munro Richardson, Read Charlotte executive director, and Superintendent Ann Clark gave books to third-grade students at Lebanon Road Elementary School.

At Lebanon Road Elementary, one third-grader says she reads the same book over and over again for an hour a night. It’s her only book.

This week, she got a second.

Read Charlotte, a new community initiative that aims to improve reading proficiency, is giving a book to all 30,000 pre-K to third-graders in Charlotte-Mecklenburg Title 1 elementary schools.

The donation is one of the largest single donor book giveaways for the district.

Munro Richardson, Read Charlotte executive director, and Superintendent Ann Clark spoke to two third-grade classes at Lebanon Road elementary about the importance of reading.

Unlike poverty or housing, we can help can help kids build their home libraries.

Munro Richardson, Read Charlotte executive director

They started distributing the books last week and the effort is continuing through this week, Richardson said.

“We’ve done some research and got some data that shows that there’s a pretty significant book desert in the middle of Mecklenburg County,” Richardson said. “Unlike poverty or housing, we can help kids build their home libraries.”

Research shows a strong correlation between the number of books kids have at home and how they do in reading, Richardson said.

Read Charlotte got the books at a discounted rate of $1 a book and received support from the Foundation for the Carolinas; Out of Print, a firm that prints book covers on T-shirts; and others.

The organization aims to double the percentage of children reading at the third grade level by 2025. It’s a public-private partnership with support from Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools, the UNC Charlotte College of Education, Mecklenburg County, the Charlotte Mecklenburg Library, the city of Charlotte, and corporations and foundations.

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