Hundreds of Students Get Free Books - 8 News NOW

Hundreds of Students Get Free Books

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LAS VEGAS -- Hundreds of students were handed books as part of a program to increase literacy.

Rundle Elementary School is the 28th school to benefit from Spread the Word Nevada.

The organization hopes the gifts will have a lasting impression on the future of the students.

More than 800 children walked through the halls of Rundle and picked out five new books that they'll be able to take home.

For many of these children, this is the first time they will own a book.

"These students' parents are working two or three jobs," Rundle Principal Laura Dickensheets said. "They don't have money for books and things in the home."

Dickensheets said it is a community effort to stress the importance of reading and getting literature in the home will eventually change a student's learning potential.

According to recent reports, 42 percent of 4th grade students in Nevada are not reading at the grade level.

Last week, during his State of the State address, Nevada Gov. Sandoval highlighted early education as one of his key points.

He proposed additional funding and pushed for more children to read at grade level.

"If we expect children to read by (age) 3, we cannot continue to ignore all of the data that tells us all-day kindergarten is a critical foundation to a child's success," Sandoval said.

Spread the Word Nevada was able to give the students books because of a $50,000 donation made by mining company Barrick Gold.

"It feels great," said Lisa Habighorsat of Spread the Word Nevada. "It's nice to know that we were on the right track 11 years ago, and we're just going to continue and help the governor and the state of Nevada the best that we can."

Combined, the organization has provided books to more than 250,000 students in the Las Vegas valley.

(Ed. Note: An earlier version of this story incorrectly reported the number of students who have received books through this program. The organization has provided books to 250,000 students, not 2,200.)

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