BALTIMORE (WJZ) — Amazon is donating thousands of books to students in Baltimore and other parts of the country for Children’s Book Week to promote children’s literacy.
Volunteers from local Amazon facilities visited Billie Holiday School Elementary in West Baltimore on Tuesday to distribute some of the books and read them to students.
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“Our goal at Amazon is to donate over 20,000 books to Title 1 schools throughout this week,” said Haley Davis, operations manager for the company’s Sparrows Point factory.
Title 1 schools are schools where children from low-income families make up at least 40 percent of the enrollment. 61% of low-income families have no books at home for their children, according to Scholastic Book Access Report.
Company volunteers and school employees told WJZ their goal is to get students excited about reading.
“We want to get them started young with reading books and get them excited to read, to learn,” said Kori Leach, Community Schools Site Coordinator.
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A 2019 National Education Progress Assessment report shows that about 80% of fourth-grade African-American students are not in grade-level reading.
Studies show that students who enter fourth grade below reading level are four times more likely to drop out of high school than those who read at grade level.
“We’re a kindergarten to grade two school, so we’re a literacy base here,” said elementary school principal Denisha Logan.
Amazon plans to distribute more than 3,500 books to Baltimore City public schools throughout the week.
“They give books to people who really need them,” said Jaevion Lee, a first-grader at the school.
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An Amazon spokesperson said some of the donated books will be given directly to schools while other donations will be given directly to students to take home.