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Kids get free books for summer reading

ADDISON COUNTY — Most children living in poverty do not have any books at home, a sobering statistic that makes these students more likely to struggle in school and drop out before graduation. In addition, many students in this rural county do not have easy access to a library during the summer months when school is not in session. Yet research shows that reading during the summer can counter the academic summer setback students often experience when they return to school in the fall.
Bonnie’s Book Foundation is working to help students keep reading over the summer. As of June 16, 100 percent of the elementary school students in Middlebury, Ripton, Weybridge, Cornwall, Salisbury, Bridport, Leicester and Shoreham now own books to read at home during the summer. 
Thanks to a book distribution event sponsored by Middlebury-based nonprofit Bonnie’s Book Foundation, more than 900 students were able to individually choose books that fit their interests and abilities during the last few weeks of the school year. 
This massive effort was made possible with the help of librarians, teachers, principals and other volunteers, as well as financial support from the Middlebury Maple Run, Junebug Mother and Child, and MESA (Middlebury Elementary School Association).
“We feel so fortunate to live in a community that supports our efforts,” said Amy Graham, vice president of Bonnie’s Book Foundation. “We know that kids who read over the summer are better prepared to return to school in the fall, and we are thrilled that this event helped kids feel excited about summer reading.”
And excited they were, as one school librarian wrote, “Thank you so much for your donation. I wish you could have seen the excitement on the children’s faces Monday and heard them yell ‘Thank you, Bonnie’s Books!’… It was great.”
Bonnie’s Book Foundation, founded by Graham’s late mother Bonnie after she was diagnosed with breast cancer in the 1990s, collects new and gently used children’s books and redistributes them to at-risk students and schools.

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