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There were bubble machines, free books, and lots of exuberant children at Piney Point Elementary School recently, because Books Between Kids was there to celebrate the presentation of the one-millionth book to an HISD student.
Second-grader Justin Ikwuagwu was the lucky boy, and he seemed a bit overwhelmed by the attention. As Books Between Kids staff and volunteers gathered round for pictures, Justin held up the book, “How Much is a Million?” and smiled shyly.
It was the fifth time the nonprofit organization had visited Piney Point to present each student with six books for their home libraries. The number of HISD schools that have benefited from the generosity of Books Between Kids has grown to 69 schools this year.
The idea is for make sure that students have books to read during the summer break, which reduces the so-called “summer slide.” Most students, especially those from low-income families, tend to lose some of their reading ability over the summer.
Books Between Kids founders Amy Barnes and Sandra Ahlhorn started holding book drives at their children’s elementary schools when they realized how many low-income students do not have books at home. Research shows that reading just six books during the summer can reduce the summer slide.
HISD Trustee Holly Maria Flynn Vilaseca, HISD Chief School Officer Jorge Arredondo, and Barbara Bush Houston Foundation for Literacy President Julie Baker Finck attended the celebration as well.