Ready to read: Wichita teacher looks to raise money to give students books for the school year

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WICHITA, Kan. (KSNW) – A Wichita teacher is working on getting books in the hands of every student at Enterprise Elementary School in the upcoming school year.

“There’s nothing like seeing a kid smile over something as simple as a book,” said Robert Castleberry, a fifth-grade teacher at Enterprise.

Two years ago, a former Enterprise teacher had an idea — raise enough money to give each student a new book to keep every month during the school year.

“To foster the love of reading and to work on those fluency skills for our kiddos,” Castleberry said.

The staff knows access to books is not a luxury that all Enterprise students can afford.

“Not everyone has resources to go out to the public library or go buy books,” he explained. “Because we are at a Title 1 building, so it’s kind of a low poverty.”

Castleberry says building up literacy skills is crucial for their students, especially for Pre-K through third grade.

“The strategic plan for the district is to be fluent by the end of third grade, because science says that’s where it’s set in stone, kind of where by third grade if you’re there, then you’re good to move on,” Castleberry said. “And if you’re not quite there at third grade, you’re going to struggle a little bit.”

Castleberry is looking to keep this tradition going. “The smallest things go a long way, and you know these last two years I’ve seen these books get into these kids’ hands, and their faces just light up,” he said.

Enterprise has roughly 450 students. If the goal is met, that would be more than 45-hundred books.

Castleberry said a donation of $15 could go a long way.

“About three Starbucks drinks that you sacrifice you could give books to a kid for a whole school year.”

If you’d like to help, click here.

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