BALTIMORE — If you give a child a book, great things can happen.
But unfortunately, too many kids in our area do not have access to books at home. And that is why this television station has been so involved with trying to help kids and families get more books.
This week we participated in free book fairs at two elementary schools in Baltimore City.
On Thursday in West Baltimore, at The Historic Samuel Coleridge-Tayler Elementary School, some of the kids couldn't believe their eyes
“I feel happy that I can read every book that I like to read,” said Davante to WMAR-2 News’ Lynette Charles.
They’re getting books to take home and keep, for free. The project is also stocking the shelves at libraries inside Baltimore Elementary and Middle School Library Project schools. It’s courtesy of WMAR-2 News, our viewers, the Harry and Jeanette Weinberg Foundation's Employee Giving Program Grant, and Scholastic.
You don't need to tell these kids that if they aren't reading comfortably by the time they're in third grade- near three out of four of them will never catch up. Because in West Baltimore, they're getting the tools to beat the odds, right now.
“This is such a joyous occasion, the children are very excited. My kindergarten students said this is the best day ever,” said Bettye Marshall Adams, the principal of The Historic Samuel Coleridge-Taylor Elementary School.
We saw similar scenes Wednesday in Northeast Baltimore, at another free book fair inside Moravia Park Elementary School.
For many of these kids, these will be the first books, in their home library.
“Everybody starts pre-k and kindergarten on level with the wealthiest communities in our country. And year by year, the gap grows bigger. Because of things like no books in the home,” said Katie Lyons, the librarian at Moravia Park Elementary School.
In all, we helped to raise more than $30-thousand for the If You Give a Child a Book campaign.
“It means much more than books,” Marshall Adams said. “It’s a huge community outreach. It is very meaningful not only to our children but also to our families.”
In addition to the free book fairs, we raised enough money to buy more than 8000 additional books, that will be donated to school libraries in Baltimore.