Community, businesses collect books for children

Posted at: 05/09/2013 4:19 PM
Updated at: 05/09/2013 4:33 PM
By: Erica Zucco, KOB Eyewitness News 4

Nearly half of New Mexico third graders aren't reading proficiently, but now, some local groups and businesses are working on a solution.

Literacy advocates along with 60 businesses have collected 36,000 books Albuquerque school children over the past few months - they gave out a handful at Dolores Gonzales Elementary School to upcoming third graders.

The rest of the books will be donated to school and local libraries.

Albuquerque Public Schools has already implemented measures to increase literacy in schools, including placing reading coaches in the schools with students who struggle the most.

But experts say reading at home is just as important, and they appreciate the community's donations to make it happen.

"Kids need to read a lot,” Pam Catanach, of the Third Grade Reading Committee, said. “If they read together as a family the whole family enjoys it and kids read a lot more because it's a habit and they do so much better in school if they read over the summer."

Lawmakers during the latest legislative session introduced a bill that would have held back third graders who weren’t proficient, but the measure was shelved. Even so, some lawmakers say to expect it again next year.

There are still a lot of people working to find solutions, and advocates say they hope initiatives like this will fill out part of the puzzle.