New books arrive to help improve literacy in young students

This article was originally published in The Notebook. In August 2020, The Notebook became Chalkbeat Philadelphia.

At George W. Nebinger Elementary School, Tuesday was one for the books.

Nebinger is one of 53 schools in the School District that will receive new children’s books to help kindergarten through 3rd-grade students learn to read. The books are categorized by reading level. The 130,000 books will be placed in 650 classrooms led by instructors who received extensive literacy training. They’ll also receive support from literacy coaches provided by the Children’s Literacy Initiative. The teachers will create reading programs tailored to individual student’s literacy levels and learning abilities.

Nebinger principal Anh Nguyen-Brown was joined by Superintendent William Hite and Donna Frisby-Greenwood, president/CEO of the Fund for the School District of Philadelphia, to unpack the new books.

“These books are designed to help our youngest readers,” said Hite, “and to provide them with the confidence they need to get them reading on grade level. If we give children a book not matched to their reading level or learning style, [then] they’ll think they don’t have what it takes to be good readers.”

The effort is a collaboration among the Fund for the School District of Philadelphia, a nonprofit organization that links private investments to the District; American Reading Co., the Children’s Literacy Initiative, READ! by 4th, the William Penn Foundation and the Lenfest Foundation.