PUBLIC SCHOOL KIDS TO GET MORE THAN 100K BOOKS FOR SUMMER READING

May 2018

Captain Underpants, Harry Potter and Wonder Woman are a few of the characters being sent home with Palm Beach County elementary school students this summer, thanks to the Children’s Services Council.

 

These fictional heroes are supposed to encourage students to pick up a book and read over vacation to help stop the “summer slide,” which is when students return to school in the fall reading on lower levels than the previous school year, said Children’s Services Council CEO Lisa Williams-Taylor.

“Reading at this age, especially in third grade, is so important because it impacts everything,” said Williams-Taylor. “There’s a saying that goes, ‘In third-grade you learn to read and after that you read to learn.’”

(-r) Forest Hill Elementary School Students Sabrina Rodriguez, Emiliano Rodriguez, and Anabel Rodriguez get up and dance when Dr. Donald Fennoy, Superintendent of the Palm Beach County School District, asked them to do so in the school’s media center, May 15, 2018. Fennoy came to the school to read Pete the Cat and the Missing Cupcakes to the class. The event was sponsored by the Children’s Services Council. (Damon Higgins / The Palm Beach Post) (Palm Beach Post Staff Writer)

For the sixth consecutive year, CSC will give more than 100,000 new Scholastic books to public school students in grades Pre-K through fifth. The council works with the school district to make sure the books are on grade level and cover topics the kids will enjoy.

“The program is great because it kicks off summer with academics still in mind,” said Scott McNichols, principal of Forest Hill Elementary School, where the program kicked off on Tuesday.

Williams-Taylor and Palm Beach County School District Superintendent Donald E. Fennoy II attended the launch in West Palm Beach to hand out some books.

“Oh my goodness were the children excited,” said Williams-Taylor, who has been involved with this program for the past three years. “I love this program because you get to see their smiling faces, and after the event, they get so absorbed in their new books.”

Williams-Taylor and Fennoy both read to the first-graders and Clifford the Big Red Dog stopped by. “The students flipped out when they saw Clifford,” said McNichols.

Dr. Donald Fennoy, Superintendent of the Palm Beach County School District, has some fun with students before reading Pete the Cat and the Missing Cupcakes to a first grade class at Forest Hill Elementary School, May 15, 2018. The event was sponsored by the Children’s Services Council. (Damon Higgins / The Palm Beach Post) (Palm Beach Post Staff Writer)
 

Each year the Children’s Services Council rotates which school gets to host the launch event and over the past five years, the council donated more than 700,000 books.

“I’ve been involved with this program before, but it was extra special this year since the superintendent came and our school was chosen to host the program,” said McNichols. “The students are still talking about it,” he said Thursday.

The summer reading kickoff is part of the council’s “My Happily Ever After Begins with Reading” initiative, which promotes the importance of grade-level reading. Williams-Taylor said students talk about these free books long after she and the superintendent leave the schools.

“We get so many thank you notes,” she said. “Some children say they have never owned a book before. Even at the event students are shocked and ask ‘do I really get to keep this?’ It’s these moments directly from the children that makes you remember why you do this.”

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