KC book giveaway expands

06/16/2014 5:14 PM

06/16/2014 11:12 PM

Raise a book in praise of the committed people who are expanding children’s access to free books, part of a continuing effort to improve youth reading skills.

For the third year, elementary school children received books to read this summer. Thank the Local Investment Commission and Kansas City Mayor Sly James’ Turn the Page KC initiative, which strives to get kids reading at or above grade level by third grade.

This year the giveaway program expanded beyond 10,000 books for children in Kansas City Public Schools to 30,000 books, including kids in seven surrounding school districts.

Kansas City Public Library and Mid-Continent Public Library branches will add to the effort a Summer Reading Day celebration on Wednesday.

The community effort is part of a “new American summer” encouraging children to read outside the school year, said Brent Schondelmeyer, communications director with LINC.

A Kansas City Area Education Research Consortium study on kids in Turn the Page KC found small but meaningful improvements.

Already, the percentage of third-grade students reading at or above grade level is rising, up from 37 percent in 2012 to 39 percent in 2013, said Mike English, executive director for Turn the Page KC. The goal is to hit 70 percent by 2017.

Kindergartners receiving free “Corduroy” books this summer will get books, coaching and encouragement each year to help them become better readers.

To donate or get involved as a volunteer, go to turnthepagekc.org.

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