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John Lewis Elementary students receive thousands of free books on Read Across America Day

Books to Kids, an initiative launched by CBS 46 has helped get books in the hands of kids in need the past four years.
Books to Kids, an initiative launched by CBS 46 has helped get books in the hands of kids in need the past four years.
Published: Mar. 2, 2022 at 4:12 PM EST
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ATLANTA, Ga. (CBS46) - Hundreds of Metro-Atlanta kids left school Wednesday with more resources to enrich their minds.

CBS46 paid a visit to John R. Lewis Elementary School to distribute 4,800 free books to students on Read Across America Day.

Books to Kids, an initiative to get children excited about reading, has helped get books in the hands of kids in need the past four years. For the first time since the start of the pandemic, the event was back in person.

Dr. LaShawn McMillan, principal of John Lewis Elementary said it warmed her heart seeing smiles beyond kids’ face masks.

“I believe my students are static, because not only did they get to meet you guys and the cheerleaders, but they get to take home books to add to their library,” McMillan said.

Kids walked the red carpet in the school’s gym to receive five paperbacks, a bookmark, highlighter, and bag to carry the books.

The CBS 46 team stopped by classrooms to read books and answer questions from the kids.

“After having the students back in the building, after having them out for two years, I know how much of a learning loss that they received,” McMillan said. “So this will help us to achieve our goal. "

Recent data shows only 34% of Georgia’s third grades are reading proficiently by the end of the school year, but Richard Woods, Georgia’s State School Superintendent says there’s a plan to improve that statistic.

“We’re going to catch our kids up,” Woods said. “We’re ready for the task and all things considered, we’re in pretty good shape in the state of Georgia.”

Since 2018, CBS has distributed more than 55,000 books to kids across Metro Atlanta. And with some kids falling behind in literacy, because of the pandemic, the initiative is more critical now than ever before.

“We know the importance of reading and having books in your hand” Woods said. “It’s important to increase that level of reading so you can eventually get to the point of instead of learning to read – you’re reading to learn.”

CBS 46 partnered with Page Turners Make Great Learners, Two Men and A Truck, Georgia State University, and the Georgia Department of Education to make the event a success.

CBS46 is teaming up with the Georgia Department of Education and Page Turners Make Great Learners to get books into the hands of children in need.