CommunityGive A Child A Book


'Give a Child a Book' promotes literacy success for Ponderosa Elementary students

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Posted at 3:46 PM, Jan 29, 2024
and last updated 2024-01-29 17:46:33-05

BILLINGS – Stacks of colorful books are sitting on display as you walk into the library at Ponderosa Elementary School.

If that’s not impressive enough, what really adds to the excitement is the class of first-grade students who pour into the room and comb through the stacks and displays, able to choose whatever five books they want.

“What did you pick out?” I ask a student. “Sponge Bob,” the boy replies.

KTVQ is once again joining forces with the Scripps Howard Fund, scholastic and other literary groups to Give a Child a Book. So far, the station has raised $40,000 to give children books in four Billings area schools, along with Hardin. 

But the fundraiser really comes alive, when students at Ponderosa Elementary picked out their free scholastic books Monday morning.

First-year Principal Allison Evertz says it’s a joy to see the children’s eyes light up as they look for the perfect book.

“It’s a great opportunity across the board,” she said.

As a part of the Give a Child a Book campaign, sponsor and community donations help make literacy the foundation of success, because perhaps developing a passion for reading starts here.

“We have a lot of students that don’t necessarily have homes that are literacy-rich,” said Evertz. “So they get to take the product home, they get to interact with the print.”

The literacy forecast for America’s children is sobering, with research saying 25 million children in the country cannot read proficiently.

“If you don’t have really good reading skills and fluency that impacts your comprehension and that impacts your education trajectory,” she said.

“I got so much,” said one student looking through a copy of the children’s book called "The Good Egg".

Another girl enthusiastically said “Yes” when asked if she enjoys learning to read.

This book giveaway is just the first in a series of events, as three other Title One schools also get the chance to give out free books to students now, then again in the spring.

It's something administrators at some of Billings’ low-income schools are grateful for.

“These opportunities just create an awareness for families and an interaction with kids,” said Evertz.