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The “hook” that helped one child learn to love reading

Nov 15, 2023

(below is a transcript from broadcast) 25 million children in the U.S. cannot read proficiently, according to some experts.

That is where NBC 26's "If You Give a Child a Book" campaign is trying to change that. For the last seven years, the effort has been led by the Scripps Howard Fun, the philanthropic branch of the E.W. Scripps company.

Tank Elementary School in Green Bay is this year's campaign recipient where nearly 85% of its students are considered economically disadvantaged.

Today, we're learning more about this small, community-minded school... And what the gift of these books will mean to its students.

"I'm going to always say yes we need books. Kids need books adults need books." says Janay Banks-Wilson. Principal at Tank Elementary School.

Tank Elementary is a small, 84-year-old building that sits in the middle of a quiet neighborhood in Green Bay. "We really are just a small little school. Generations have walked this hall. We've had parents that went here. Now we have their kids," says Banks-Wilson.

Of the just over 120 students... Nearly 85% are considered economically disadvantaged.

Our literacy levels are probably lower than we would like them to be but we are working every day to improve them, says Jennifer Steenbock, Literacy Coach at Tank Elementary

Steenbock knows how her students can struggle with reading.

"A struggling reader I had in 4th grade it was like reading was the biggest puzzle to him," she says. "All of a sudden we realized he loved fishing. And we got him books on fishing.""And he could read those books with his reading buddy." she adds. "And he made super growth that year on his reading just because of his love of fishing.

And that's the hook Steenbock looks for to get a child to learn to love to read... So someday they can read to learn.

Reports show that kids unable to read by third grade are four times less likely to graduate from high school.

Improving literacy is why our "If You Give a Child a book" campaign is so important... We're raising money to put new, age-appropriate books into the hands of kids at Tank Elementary School.

"I think you'll find that choice is amazing. And they love to have that choice and have more than three books to choose from."

This year, Tank Elementary is under consideration by the school district to close down... Though the decision hasn't been made yet...

Principal Banks-Wilson says this book campaign will give not just the kids… but the teachers the boost they need in a year with so much uncertainty.

They are only as excited as we are excited so that's how we operate in our school community building that excitement and that love and giving them books to take home.

Starting Monday, August 28th you can donate to our If You Give a Child a Book campaign. Every $6.00 you donate buys a new, age-appropriate book into the hands of students in need. 100% of the money you donate goes directly to students at Tank Elementary School.

Click here to donate now