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Fort Pierce students thrive through WPTV, Scripps Howard Fund book campaign

Through 'If You Give a Child a Book" campaign, Weatherbee Elementary School students get free books
A student at Weatherbee Elementary School in Fort Pierce looks at a book in the media center during the 2023-24 academic year.PNG
Posted at 6:06 AM, Sep 07, 2023

FORT PIERCE, Fla. — Through your generous donations to the "If You Give a Child a Book" campaign from WPTV and the Scripps Howard Fund, students at Weatherbee Elementary School in Fort Pierce get to build their home libraries full of books.

SPECIAL COVERAGE: Education

At Weatherbee Elementary, every book is a new adventure.

"My favorite book of all time is 'Diary of a Wimpy Kid,'" fifth grade student Iliyanah Clerveaux said.

This group of students is learning a new way to check out their favorite books from the media center.

We know that learning to read is fundamental, but media specialist Robin Marmitt said when students can have a personal library of their own, it takes literacy to a new level.

"They are so proud of their private book ownership. So that tells me it’s trickling out into the community," Marmitt said.

That's where the WPTV and Scripps Howard Fund's "If You Give a Child a Book" campaign comes in, allowing all Weatherbee Elementary School students to take home three free books from their Scholastic Book Fair.

"I'm excited Weatherbee gets to continue another year with this partnership with WPTV," principal Angela Patton said. "Not every child is able to have access to books like I did as a child. And by giving them the books, even letting them choose the books, it’s going to increase their desire to read. And as they read more, their vocabulary is going to increase."

Patton said that as students improve their reading skills, the other school subjects start to fall into place.

"By the community coming together, making donations, they’re not just making a donation, putting a book in their hand. They are investing in our children. They are investing in their future," Patton said.

The future for students like Clerveaux.

"My goals are to read harder books and see if I can actually pronounce some words in different languages," Clerveaux said. "Sometimes when I read books, it makes me feel more confident in myself."

Marmitt said the book fair partnership has led to another benefit that she admits she didn't expect.

"Many kids have come back after summer, proudly showing me their St. Lucie library cards because they had the few books from the book fair, but they wanted more, more, more, more books," Marmitt said.

And more pages of possibility.

To donate to the "If You Give a Child a Book" campaign, click here.

To celebrate National Read A Book Day on Wednesday, the Scripps Howard Fund will double the first $150,000 in donations made to the campaign.