Organizers of a book drive backed by the Wake County school system hope to collect 100,000 books to be distributed to thousands of children who might otherwise lack books at home to read.
On Saturday, WAKE Up and Read is kicking off a monthlong effort to collect 100,000 new and gently used books for kids 12 and younger. This comes after last year’s inaugural drive netted 67,000 children’s books – far more than the original goal of 40,000.
“It was a great success last year,” said Carolyn Merrifield of WAKE Up And Read, a group that promotes childhood literacy in Wake County. “We were so excited to see the community involved, so we decided to make it bigger and better.”
Merrifield said the effort is already off to a good start as Dollar Book Exchange in Raleigh will donate 15,000 books.
Once the campaign is over, Merrifield said, the books will be distributed to students at nine elementary schools that have high concentrations of poverty. She said books will also be given to community centers and child-care facilities that serve the same areas as those schools.
“We want to make sure we get these books to those kids who need the extra help,” Merrifield said.
WAKE Up and Read was formed in 2012 by the school system in partnership with several community groups. The goal is to get children reading at grade level by third grade.
This year’s kickoff event will begin at 3 p.m. Saturday at Quail Ridge Books, 3522 Wade Ave. in Raleigh. The event will include face painting, Lynda Loveland of WRAL reading children’s books and children’s book illustrator Mark Dubowski leading an art activity.