NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WTVF) — Anyone who's worked in early education can speak to this. Reading comprehension shapes the rest of a child's life. That's why NewsChannel 5 is working to get books into the hands of children at no cost to their families.
Sylvia Boshra and Valeria Araujo, both 9 years old, just met Wednesday morning, but they have some things in common. Both are fourth graders, both students at Lakeview Elementary Design Center. There's also something else.
"I like to come to the library, like her," said Valeria.
When it comes to books, they're drawn to different aisles.
"I like fiction, fantasy, things like that," Valeria continued. "Fun. Come Back, Amelia Bedelia, that's my favorite one."
"I like ones that are scary," smiled Sylvia. "I like the jump scares sometimes."
Whatever aisle her students are in, principal Shantrell Pirtle loves that her students enjoy reading.
"It makes a significant impact on their education from pre-K all the way up to 12th grade. When they graduate, they're college and career ready," she said.
Valeria and Sylvia know not all kids have a home library of books.
"A lot of kids can't afford the books cause a lot of them are expensive," said Sylvia. "Books can teach them a lot of things at a young age."
Knowing that, NewsChannel 5 has been involved in a book fair the past few years, one that's partnered the station with the Scripps Howard Fund and Scholastic Books.
After taking donations, the If You Give A Child A Book campaign holds free book fairs at Middle Tennessee schools in underserved communities. These Scholastic book fairs mean kids can pick their free books themselves to take home. Lakeview's been part of the program before.
Valeria and Sylvia sat in their school library, reading bits of their favorite books to each other.
"That makes my heart feel good to know they can share their love of reading," smiled Pirtle. "It just catapults them in any direction they wanna go in life."
"I like to read," Valeria said. "We like to read."
To donate to the If You Give A Child A Book campaign, visit here. The Nashville Predators will match the first $25,000 worth of donations raised.