ESCONDIDO (KGTV) -- Hundreds of North County school children were surprised Thursday with a new book for National Reading Day, along with a visit from Clifford the Big Red Dog.
10News employees, with help from the Scripps Howard Foundation, donated 3,000 books to elementary schools in Fallbrook and Escondido.
It was the most books ever donated by the station in the annual “If You Give a Child a Book…” campaign, and nearly twice as many as last year, said Community Outreach & PR Manager Patty Thompson.
Kindergartners and first graders at Live Oak Elementary in Fallbrook and Farr Avenue Elementary in Escondido lined up to greet Clifford and pick out a book of their own. Other books will be donated to libraries in the districts, Thompson said.
At Live Oak Elementary, one girl picked out a new book about Barbie. “I like to read because sometimes, when it’s a fairy tale, it can take you to magical places,” she said.
“A lot of these kids can’t afford books,” said Live Oak Elementary librarian Stacey Regotti.
Farr Avenue principal Lizeth Lopez said encouraging students to read early is critical.
“Data shows that if we can’t get our kids to read by third grade, their future may be limited,” she said. “So starting at 4, 5, and 6 years old is when we can catch them.”
10News is owned by the E.W. Scripps Company. Scripps-owned stations across the country took part in Thursday’s event, distributing more than 172,000 books to children in need.
The company’s corporate foundation, the Scripps Howard Foundation, matched donations by Scripps employees.
The San Diego County Office of Education and Scholastic Book Fairs of San Diego also contributed to the book giveaways in the North County.