COLORADO SPRINGS, CO — KOAA News5's annual "If You Give a Child a Book" campaign begins Wednesday, Jan. 19.
KOAA, along with the Scripps Howard Foundation, recognizes an impoverished environment often leads to children receiving a lack of access to reading resources, a lower reading proficiency and a struggle to complete courses needed to transition into the world.
The "If You Give a Child a Book" literacy program focuses on under-served children between the grades of kindergarten to third grade as this age range is often overlooked by other efforts.
According to the 2019 study by the National Assessment of Educational Progress, 25 million children in the U.S. cannot read proficiently.
Developing that passion for reading is crucial, according to Jim Trelease, author of the best-seller, The Read-Aloud Handbook.
"Students who read the most, read the best, achieve the most, and stay in school the longest. Conversely, those who don't read much, cannot get better at it," said Trelease.
The importance of diverse reading materials also cannot be overstated.
When children have access to reading materials that represent different abilities, cultures, beliefs, races and ethnicities, they influence attitudes toward those differences.
In the process, these books foster positive self-esteem, nurture respect, empathy and acceptance and bring people together.
In partnering with Scholastic Book Programs, the If You Give A Child A Book campaign allows children to choose five books so they can take them home to start their own libraries.
This year, Kellogg's will donate a sixth book so students can continue to read and grow.
Since its beginning, "If You Give a Child a Book" has distributed over 500,000 books, generating more than 90 million reading minutes.
Every $5 you donate will result in one free book for a student hoping to have a bright future.
If you're interested in helping the children of Southern Colorado, you can donate here.