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December 7, 2013

Book fairs help raise literacy rates across the land

At Lena Dunn Elementary the annual winter book fair is big deal for more reasons than one. The timing is perfect for families with Christmas just around the corner and getting books into the hands of children is the key to improving literacy not just at Lena Dunn but in schools across the state and country.

Melba Spivey teaches Title I at the elementary school that hundreds of children, many who come from homes where English is a second language, call home five days a week. Spivey said that the response of the book fair each year is overwhelming.

“We encourage all of our students to get a book during the fair,” said Spivey. “Most all of them do buy at least one. The students love the book fair. They all get excited about looking at all the books.”

In addition to buying the books, Spivey said that after each purchase, the students put their name in for a drawing. The winner gets approximately $100 worth of books. Another book fair, a buy one get one free event, is hosted at the school in the spring as well.

Statistics from the National Center for Education Statistics, a division of the U.S. Department of Education, show that the more types of reading materials in the home, including newspapers and magazines, the higher students are in reading proficiency.

A study from the NCES also determined that students who are read to at home have other advantages over children who are not read to at home. Only 53 percent of children ages three to five were read to on a daily basis by a family member and children from families who live below the poverty line are less likely to be read to aloud than children who live above or at the poverty line.

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