MARTINSVILE — The gift of a book is a tool to combat poverty and help build students for future success.
Together with the Scripps Howard Foundation and our viewers, WRTV traveled to Martinsville to distribute books to elementary school students through our "If You Give a Child a Book" campaign.
South Elementary School of Communications is a Title 1 school with just over 230 students in grades Pre-K through fourth grade, and Thursday was a big surprise for their students.
Through Scholastic, each student received four books to take home, and WRTV and Scripps donated additional books to their classroom libraries.
"It's really nice. Really like that I have more books to read at home," said third grade student, Sophia Muro. "Thank you for donating the books. It really made me happy."
Through the campaign over the past year, we were able to raise more than $15,000, which totaled more than 3,150 books. We selected two elementary schools to receive the donations. In addition to South Elementary in Morgan County, Urban Act Academy in Indianapolis will also receive a donation of books this semester.
Due to COVID-19 safety measures, WRTV was not able to host our traditional book fair, but students received a bag of books pre-selected by their teachers.
"It's a very exciting day," South Elementary Principal Melody Meyer said. "It was great to be able to go ahead and start distributing books today to see the excitement on students' faces."
Meyer said South Elementary teachers and staff focus on communication skills and even have a TV studio inside the school building. She said they place a lot of attention on reading and communication because they are life skills that students will need for all aspects of life.
She said being able to send the books home with kids is a big deal and building their own library at home can help foster a love of learning from an early age.
"And then opening those bags and getting out and showing us which one they think might be their favorite and which one they want to read first, it was great to see that excitement," Meyer said.
Fourth-grader Quinn Thatcher has some advice for other kids his age who may not have a love of reading yet.
"Find a type of what kind of genre: fiction, non fiction," Quinn said. "Just find one you like, and find a book that's in that like category and then just start reading it."
You can help WRTV and the Scripps Howard Foundation continue to share the love of reading with kids across central Indiana by donating to our literacy campaign, just visit WRTV.com/GiveABook to learn more.