Louisa Co. kindergartners receive free books through reading initiative

Louisa Co. kindergartners receive free books through reading initiative

LOUISA COUNTY, Va. (WVIR) - Kindergartners in Louisa County are receiving books to take home and keep forever through an initiative trying to get kids reading at a young age.

“We’re donating 10 books to every child. That’s about $160 of books for each child to take home,” founder of the Soho Center Jeanna Beker said.

Beker founded the Soho Center 48 years ago. The nonprofit gives away 300,000 books to students in Virginia every year with the help of the Library of Virginia. On Tuesday, Beker handed out books to kindergartners at Jouett Elementary School through the organization’s latest initiative, The RED (Read Every Day) Project.

“It’s extra important now that children have books and can share an experience at home with parents,” Beker said.

Jouett Elementary School kindergarten teacher Susan Anderson says these books will help fuel her students' passion for reading.

“Putting these books in the hands of the children and their families for them to be able to read and look at and discover new things is just an amazing opportunity,” Anderson said.

John Metz works at the Library of Virginia, and says handing out these books to the students brought him back to when he was a young and eager reader.

“These kids will learn to love books at the earliest stage and hopefully we’re able to introduce them to the library so they can feed that hunger of books,” Metz said.

The story doesn’t end in Louisa County. The reading initiative will be making its way to Richmond, Charlottesville, Albemarle County, and Orange County.

“Having a parent read a book that’s with a child on their lap or cozying up to them and being able to point to things and respond to children is crucial. No device can replace that,” Beker said.

Beker says the project is delivering 30,000 to 40,000 books to incoming kindergartners, but her goal is to increase that number to 300,000.

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