4.15.2011

Press Release - May 10th Media Invitation

Below is a press release issued by the Clarke County School District, inviting media to the May 10th Books for Keeps book distribution. If you have media contacts who might be interested, we could certainly use your help getting the word out!

Friday, April 15, 2011

Writer/Contact: Anisa Sullivan Jimenez
706/546-7721, ext. 18271, jimenezan@clarke.k12.ga.us

Books for Keeps Contact:
Melaney Smith, givethembooks@gmail.com

Clarke County School District to Receive Over 16,000 Books From Books for Keeps

Athens, Ga. – Athens non-profit Books for Keeps is preparing to distribute over 16,000 books to students at Alps Road Elementary School, Fowler Drive Elementary School, Stroud Elementary School and Clarke Middle School in May. The program launched at Alps in 2009, and has now expanded to include several additional schools that will benefit from the local program.

“Books for Keeps started as an effort to help one little girl who loved to read, but didn’t own a single book. It quickly grew into a grassroots movement to end summer slide in Athens,” said Books for Keeps founder Melaney Smith.

Smith utilized a University of Tennessee study when designing the 2011 Books for Keeps program. The study found that giving economically-disadvantaged elementary school children 12 books at the beginning of summer had an impact on reading achievement comparable to attending summer school.

Books for Keeps will distribute 12 books per child to all elementary school students at Alps, Fowler Drive and Stroud Elementary Schools this May – a total of around 12,000 books. Media are invited to attend the May 10 book distribution event at Fowler Drive Elementary School. In addition, nearly 3,000 Clarke Middle School students will receive books. Also, Clarke Central High School already gave away nearly 1,000 Books for Keeps books to students in English Literature Classes.

“Melaney Smith shows that one person can make a real difference,” said Superintendent Philip Lanoue. “Her program embodies what it means for a community to come together to support its schools. We are deeply appreciative of all her efforts.”

Smith collected the books primarily from book drives and through used book donations. She has received donations from across the United States and Canada. In addition to the books, all elementary school students will receive a tote bag, awarded from a grant by the Kenneth and Mildred Gammons Foundation.

“To succeed, Books for Keeps must provide high interest books – the books kids most want to read and will read, with no encouragement from parents or teachers,” said Smith. “For this, we rely on the generosity of our local community and beyond to provide books that will help children cultivate a lifelong interest and enjoyment of reading.”

Books for Keeps works to improve reading achievement in children, by addressing causes related to the accessibility and appeal of reading material. The organization provides books and other reading material to children whose reading opportunities outside of school might otherwise be limited due to income, geography or other factors. Books for Keeps fosters a love of reading and encourages recreational reading by providing enjoyable reading material to develop and maintain reading skills that will benefit a child throughout his or her education. For more information, visit www.booksforkeeps.org.

With 21 schools and over 12,000 students, the Clarke County School District offers students both diversity and a culture of academic excellence. The district was recognized as Georgia’s top school district for closing the achievement gap. All elementary and middle schools made 2010 Adequate Yearly Progress, the state’s measure of achievement under No Child Left Behind. Both traditional high schools are ranked in the top 6% of public high schools nationwide by Newsweek magazine. For more information, visit www.clarke.k12.ga.us.
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