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Building ‘lifelong readers’ — Wake drive aims to collect 110,000 books for children

WAKE Up and Read collecting books for Wake County children

WAKE Up and Read wants to collect 110,000 new and gently used children books in its 2019 Book Drive to give to students at 13 Wake County elementary schools, including East Garner Elementary.
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WAKE Up and Read wants to collect 110,000 new and gently used children books in its 2019 Book Drive to give to students at 13 Wake County elementary schools, including East Garner Elementary.

Thirty percent of Wake County’s third-graders aren’t reading at grade level, so several community groups are tackling the problem by trying to get as many books as possible into the hands of young children.

WAKE Up and Read is kicking off its 2019 Book Drive, a six-week campaign that runs from Saturday to Feb. 15, to collect 110,000 new and gently-used children’s books for 13 high-poverty elementary schools and childcare facilities and community centers near those schools. The goal is to give every student 10 books to take home with them to read over the summer.

WAKE Up and Read was formed in 2012 by the Wake County school system in partnership with several community groups to promote childhood literacy.

“Sadly, many Wake County children have no books in their home and arrive for kindergarten without the knowledge and experiences they need to excel,” according to WAKE Up and Read. “Our shared goal is to ensure that more children living in low-income households have the tools and resources they need to become lifelong readers and learners.

“Working together, we can build stronger students and a stronger community.”

Books will also be distributed to Barwell Road, Brentwood, Bugg, Fox Road, Lynn Road, Walnut Creek and Wilburn elementary schools in Raleigh; Creech Road, East Garner and Smith in Garner; Hodge Road in Knightdale; Lincoln Heights in Fuquay-Varina and Wakelon in Zebulon.

Last year’s drive collected 96,861 books.

The official kickoff event will be on Jan. 12 from 2 to 3:30 p.m. at Quail Ridge Books, 4209-100 Lassiter Mill Rd. in Raleigh. The event will feature special story times, face painting, art activities for families, and an appearance by Ruben, the WAKE Up and Read mascot.

WAKE Up and Read has online wishlists of suggested books at Amazon, Barnes & Noble and Quail Ridge Books. In addition Quail Ridge will provide a 20 percent discount on books purchased for donation.

People can also donate money to WAKE UP and Read in lieu of providing books.

Go to https://wakeupandread.org/initiatives/book-drive/ for more information, including where to drop off books.

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T. Keung Hui has covered K-12 education for the News & Observer since 1999, helping parents, students, school employees and the community understand the vital role education plays in North Carolina. His primary focus is Wake County, but he also covers statewide education issues.
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