AMARILLO, TX (KFDA) - River Road High School students have collected over 7,000 books for the districts elementary students so they do not fall behind academically over the summer.
Before school is out, River Roads PALs and Book Club will be giving at least 12 books to more than 600 elementary students in the River Road School District.
In 2016, the high school students held their first Books4Keeps Book Drive with the initiative to give the books to children from low income families. That's about 75 percent of the district's elementary population, but the drive has grown beyond expectations.
This year, the high school will be providing books for all of the kindergarten through 6th grade students.
"The purpose was to stop a thing called summer slide," said Alison Kirkpatrick, River Road High School Librarian. "Students, especially in low income homes don't have a lot of resources, and they can actually fall behind their grade level during the summer. By August, they are 2 to 4 months behind and by 6th grade they can be 2 to 3 years behind, which makes academic success difficult."
Most of River Roads students live outside of Amarillo's city limits making it harder for them to access Amarillo public libraries.
So, high school students are working to promote literacy and reading among their young peers.
"Seeing the look on their face when they get these books, it really fills a spot in your heart," said Jacob Magnano, River Road Senior. "When you give them a book to read throughout the summer, you would think, 'okay, this kid just has a book,' but it's a lot more than that to us. They can read, they have something to do throughout the summer and they can get better on their education and they're not doing as bad in school anymore."
On May 22 and 24, the elementary children will be able to pick their 12 books to take home to keep.
If you want to make a donation to the River Road Books4Keeps Book Drive, the high school is looking for child friendly books, tote bags or monetary donations.