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Help donate books to Grand Rapids Public Schools students

Posted at 8:53 AM, Sep 18, 2020
and last updated 2020-09-18 08:54:19-04

GRAND RAPIDS, MICH. — Over the past few weeks here at FOX 17 we’ve been collecting donations for our campaign “If you Give a Child a Book” and this weekend is the last chance to donate.

All the books will go to children at Grand Rapids Public Schools so we caught up with the district to see what it means to them.

“Making sure students are reading and have access to reading materials in books is vitally important,” says John Helmholdt, Executive Director of Communications & External Affairs, Grand Rapids Public Schools

Grand Rapids Public Schools will be distributing the books throughout the district where the need is the highest.

“We know high poverty high needs students are most susceptible to the summer learning loss or the summer slide as some people call it. Well, take the summer learning loss which is normally a two month period and multiply it by three, because that's essentially how many months it's been since students have really been in school,” says John Helmholdt, Executive Director of Communications & External Affairs, Grand Rapids Public Schools

And while kids were doing virtual learning they had significantly less exposure in the classroom. So these books will be vital in helping get them back on or keeping them on track.

“Students need to learn to read in order to read to learn. We know as they get older, subjects get more complicated, having those basic literacy skills is absolutely essential to success in all subject areas that students are expected to master,” says John Helmholdt, Executive Director of Communications & External Affairs, Grand Rapids Public Schools

Especially now with Michigan's new third grade reading law that goes into effect this year.

“Some students if they're not proficient in literacy. There's the threat of them being automatically retained. And we know that retention is not good for students either. So the extra help and support from initiatives like this. Thanks to Fox 17. We're able to support our students and help them succeed, and hopefully they helped get them all proficient on that third grade reading test,” says John Helmholdt, Executive Director of Communications & External Affairs, Grand Rapids Public Schools.

If you’d like to help with childhood literacy right here in our own community and take part in our “If you Give a Child a Book” campaign click here. The Scripps family has provided a $5,000 matching fund, so your donation will be doubled. All money raised in West Michigan benefits children in Title 1 schools within GRPS.