BRYAN, TX — The students of Neal Elementary in Bryan all went home Friday with their very own book.
“I got "Dog Breath,"" said one student.
“Right now more than ever, it is so important to put a book in their hands. A book that’s their own that they get to take home,” said Principal Juanita Collins.
Over the course of the last year, teachers and administrators have been forced to relearn how to teach their students thanks to COVID-19.
Principal Collins says reading has been the biggest challenge for most of her students throughout the pandemic.
“We were shut down for the majority of the spring semester. So, right now we are seeing the learning gaps, especially with the reading. Especially our kindergartens that are in first grade, we see a lot of those foundational skills were not mastered, so reading has been our priority,” said Collins.
All week, students have been anticipating picking out their very own free book thanks to the "If you give a child a book..." Childhood Literacy Campaign in partnership with the Scripps Howard Foundation.
“I chose "Captain Underpants" because I have two of them at home and I want to add this one to my collection!” said one student.
Neal Elementary has not been able to have a book fair since November 2019, so receiving 541 books is a blessing to help keep students passionate about reading.
“The book fair is something the kids really look forward to, and we have Scholastic books now, so they’re really excited about that. When our pre-K and kindergarten [classes] came in, they were just ecstatic and just looking at all of the books and getting to choose their very own," said Collins.
Neal Elementary was one of four elementary schools across Central Texas and the only school in Brazos County selected to receive books for their students.