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Wood County Schools offers free books throughout summer

PARKERSBURG — Wood County Schools has expanded its summer books program to include all students of all grade levels.

The program begins June 9 and will allow families to pick up a new book at their home school each Tuesday for eight weeks, said Christie Willis, director of curriculum and instruction for Wood County Schools.

The book distribution will be similar in style to educational packets that were made available for pickup in boxes marked by grade level. In some weeks each grade will be offered a specific book, while other weeks a mix of books will be available, Willis said.

Each student can pick up one book each week to take home and keep. The distribution is per student, so Willis said a family with multiple students could pick up a book each week for each child.

“We think this is a good way for families to build their at-home libraries,” she said.

Willis said books not distributed will be given to the schools.

The district used multiple funding sources to purchase 80,000 books, Willis said. Past programs have only been for Title I schools and limited grade levels, but Willis said because of this year’s summer school and summer reading program being virtual, officials were able to shift funds to reach even more students.

Officials also were able to receive two grants through the Parkersburg Area Community Foundation.

Willis said the district received $6,000 from the “Carl W. Balderson Jr. Memorial Fund for the Love of Reading” for fourth- and fifth-grade students, and $20,000 through the “Esbenshade Advised Fund” to purchase books for all middle and high school students.

The district’s summer books program costs $84,000.

“This is the first time we’ve been able to do a book distribution for all students,” Willis said. “Without those grants, we could not have done this. I hope parents take advantage and bring their children to pick out books each week.”

Contact Michael Erb at merb@newsandsentinel.com.

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