Second-graders at a predominantly low-income north St. Louis County school district went home with new books Thursday as part of a national reading day.
Two St. Louis children’s authors spent part of the afternoon at Koch Elementary School in the Riverview Gardens district, which is struggling with reading proficiency. Just 17 percent of third-graders at Koch Elementary School were considered to be at state standards for reading in 2015, though the district has improved enough regain provisional accreditation.
Studies show having enough books at home is a key to young kids developing strong reading skills, and third grade is an important benchmark for literacy skills.
“Literacy is the foundation of everything with education, so we really want them to have that foundational support,” said Alex Goodfellow with The Little Bit Foundation. That nonprofit and the philanthropic arm of St. Louis accounting firm KPMG donated copies of “Goodnight St. Louis” to dozens of second-graders at Koch to mark Read Across America Day, which falls on Dr. Seuss’ birthday.
Co-authors June Herman and Julie Dubray read the book aloud in the school cafeteria and then showed the original drawings of the book’s artwork, which portrays famous regional landmarks.
“It’s so exciting to see a child with a new book and know that they can take it home and it be their own, and so many of them have never had a book of their own in the past,” said Karen Vangyia, managing partner at KPMG.
KPMG also donated 10,000 books through the group Parents as Teachers to several area school districts.
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