Kids get free books, West Michigan school hopes it fosters love of reading

Posted at 6:22 PM, Oct 28, 2014
and last updated 2014-10-28 22:09:10-04

KALAMAZOO, Mich.-- Some students in Kalamazoo are adding to their book collections and getting some reading practice thanks to some help from Newell Rubbermaid.

In their 2nd Annual Global Day of Service they are hosting a Scholastic Book Fair, where each student gets a special surprise.

Newell Rubbermaid and Scholastic are in 122 schools across the United States trying to improve education by doing something as simple as allowing kids to pick out five books to take home.

Over 300 students at Lincoln International Studies School filed in to pick out whatever stories, picture books or chapter books they desired.

“It makes me feel really excited to read them and I can also use them for future homework assignments,” said fifth grader Amonte Irizarry.

Irizarry, an avid reader, is psyched to go home with more books to add to his collection, and December Kiethley says she probably wouldn't have gotten to take home five books if it wasn't for the fair.

“I read the receipt too and it was like $39,” she said.

Scholastic carefully chooses which schools get picked for this special book fair.

“I came to this school in particular because of the need for literacy at this particular location,” said Stacie Sokolowski from Scholastic.

According to, only 31 percent of fifth graders at Lincoln scored proficient or higher on the Michigan Educational Assessment Program (MEAP) test in 2013 compared to the over 70 percent  of kids who are proficient or higher in all of Michigan.

“This will help us with our reading scores; but not only that but foster that lifelong joy of reading,” said Principal Fernanda Carreno.

They even have their own room now where kids can go and read. Volunteers from Rubbermaid painted a mural with a lion, the school’s mascot.

“To have the reading oasis in our school, a place where reading will be sacred in this building, is a special thing,” said Carreno.

Amonte knows these books mean a lot more than a free gift.

“I think it's important to read so you can go to college and get a good life,” he said.

Out of 122 schools across the United States that have had the book fair, Lincoln International Studies School is the only one in Michigan.