Good reading habits are important to a child’s success, both at school and in life. Studies show that children who read well in early grades are more successful in later years of life. For the last eight years, UALR Children International (UALR-CI), in partnership with Scholastic, has worked to give books to all our sponsored children and youth in elementary and middle schools. Scholastic is the world’s largest publisher and distributor of children’s books. They have long been a well-known pillar in educational systems preparing children for reading success. Thanks to this partnership, UALR-CI is able to provide its students with twice as many books as would otherwise be possible each year as we try to help each child grow his/her own home library.

During the first week of March inside our partner elementary schools, libraries filled with children waiting eagerly for their turn at the book cart. Selections included engaging, grade-leveled, age appropriate informational texts to aid in building core language arts skills while supporting the curriculum and Common Core Standards. After third grade, comprehension is very important for building good reading skills and study habits as children are no longer learning to read, they are reading to learn. At an age where reading can sometimes be a chore, children can explore new words to help develop the vocabulary needed to learn and comprehend, bolstering their success in school. Reading also helps open children up to a world of learning on a level that will keep them engaged. They can help take a child on a journey with the flip of a page and encourage bonding time as they read with family and friends. The many social and intellectual benefits children gain from reading endure for years.

At the partner schools, children were all smiles as they made their choices. Along with the books, they were given a chance to select a literacy-related activity item like a plush toy, puzzle, or reading lamp (depending on grade). Once satisfied with their selections, heart-felt thank you letters were written to their sponsors who helped make it all possible. The book fair continues at the UALR-CI Office through June. By developing great reading habits early on, UALR-CI is helping play a big part in setting the children up for a lifetime of success.




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