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Hundreds of books pour in for Jacksonville elementary school after teacher tweets for help

For the start of Literacy Week, educators at Brookview Elementary had a dream of giving each student a book of their own.

JACKSONVILLE, Fla — Schools across Florida are celebrating Literacy Week starting January 25. For some schools, it can be difficult to get a book into the hands of every student. It all comes down to access and money. 

There are 125 Title 1 schools in Duval County, according to their preliminary numbers for 2020-2021. Brookview Elementary is one of these are schools, where more than 50 percent of the children are on free or reduced lunch. 

This story starts with a tweet.

An elementary teacher at Brookview, Heather Garner, tweeted asking for books for her students who deserve the most.

“Within like 30 minutes of it being on Twitter, we were almost at 500 books," said Jessica Daniels, the reading coach at Brookview. 

Daniels and Principal Tracey Kendrick only needed one book for each class, but the donations poured in so they had a new task. 465 students come here to learn. They’re now able to give them each two or three books. They feel it’s what they’ve earned. 

“A lot of kids don’t have books at home," said Kendrick. "So that’s one of our goals is to provide high-quality books, books that are on their level that they would want to read at their house.”

“It’s an overwhelming feeling to know that we have so much support out in the community and that everyone understands how necessary having books in our kids’ hands is," Daniels said. 

Even in 2021, data shows millions of Americans read below the 6th-grade level. The U.S. Department of Education reports that 54% of U.S. adults which is about 130 million adults lack proficiency in literacy.

You can still pitch in. Usually, for Literacy Week, Daniels says they bring in guests to read to classes. Due to COVID-19, they cannot do that this year.

You can record a video of yourself reading a children's book and email it to Daniels at atkinsonjl@duvalschools.org. They may play your video for one of the classes during Literacy Week.

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