Mountain West Bank promotes literacy for students

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COURTESY PHOTO Naples Elementary School students pose after a surprise assembly. Students were able to select brand new books to take home for the holiday break courtesy of Mountain West Regional Bank.

NAPLES — Mountain West Regional Bank Representatives visited Naples school on Dec. 17. They brought with them a bounty of books to give to the students in kindergarten through third grades.

A small assembly took place and students were told what was about to happen. They were not aware and the whole event was a surprise.

Students’ reactions were priceless.

“It brings tears to my eyes to see our students leaping with joy about reading,” said Naples Elementary Kindergarten teacher Sally Hull.

Researchers from studies on the importance of reading and literacy from groups like the National Center for Education Statistics, Literacy Partners, Children’s Literacy Foundation, the Annie E. Casey Foundation, to name just a few have found important information.

“A child’s reading ability at grade 3 is the biggest indicator of graduation: one in six third-graders who are not reading proficiently won’t graduate from high school on time,” as found through research condensed by the Association of American Publishers (AAP) researchers. “...An outcome that is even higher for children in low-income and rural communities.”

Each student was able to take home six books of their choosing.

Harmon Newhouse, the Naples Elementary School principal, elucidated how appreciative Naples Elementary is.

“We can’t thank Mountain West Bank enough,” said Newhouse.

“I even heard a few of my students say they were going to pass on video games and read their new books tonight,” said Angela Lucas, the Naples Elementary School third-grade teacher.

Research statisticians have shown a relation to low reading proficiency and poverty reporting that 43 percent of adults who are low in reading proficiency live in poverty.

Further culminated investigative research through the AAP has confirmed that, “two-thirds of low-income families have no age-appropriate books in their homes.”

A substantial gap in the amount of books available to children in varied demographic areas was analyzed. This research found that children in middle-income areas have an average access to 13 books compared to that of low-income areas where children were found to have access to only one book per every 300 children.

“It seems like books have taken a back seat to technology,” said Newhouse. “With donations like these, it helps kids gain a love for reading, which is something we hope to establish here at Naples Elementary.”

“Mountain West Bank representatives’ hope was to get books in kids’ hands before the holiday break,” said Newhouse. “The intention was to give them a present for Christmas, but also provide reading opportunities during the two-week break.”

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