Lindale ISD and Lindale's
Lillie Russell Memorial Library have joined forces to make sure every child has enough to read.
Last year, the school began the Lindale Books for Kids program, giving every student in the Early Childhood Center one book each month to take home. Now, the city library is allowing the little readers to start building their libraries much earlier.
With the help of the Dolly Parton Imagination Library, the Lillie Russell Memorial Library has signed up more than 280 children to receive free books from birth through 5 years old.
Principal Kaela Deslatte said the program at the school is made possible by a $5,000 grant from the district and then finding matching gifts in the community. This year, Target donated $3,000.
"From the school, we're so appreciative that they value our little ones," Deslatte said. "The little ones don't get overlooked in Lindale."
During the day, students eagerly anticipated receiving the first books of the school year. Their teachers had them decorate cardboard boxes to hold their books while they waited.
Associate Director of Curriculum and Assessment Jane Silvey said the school is providing books for 900 students each month.
"This is like Christmas for them. They've already decorated their book boxes," she said. "We're all here to promote literacy."
After just one year of the program, the impact is already evident in the classroom.
"Ultimately we can tell the parents are reading with them at home," Kindergarten teacher Angela Shine said. "They didn't want to wait, they've been so excited. They take ownership in it."
The district has seen improvements in students who may not have age-appropriate books at home.
"We want every student to read on grade level," Lindale ISD Superintendent Stan Surratt said. "We do have some students behind early on and hope this helps close any gaps. We're blessed with the community support."
By keeping students on track at an early age, the district hopes to instill a lifelong love of reading.