Students at Broadwater Elementary School each receive six free books

Line of students getting books
Posted at 5:53 PM, Jan 23, 2024
and last updated 2024-01-23 19:53:11-05

HELENA — Libraries give kids wonder, curiosity, and a love of learning. The Scripps Howard Fund gives kids the opportunity to create their own libraries at home.

"Every kid needs to read every night, they just do. It's the foundation of their success. And not everybody can get to our public library, even though we have a great public library. It's far for some kids to get to, especially our kids. They can't walk there," said the Principal at Broadwater Elementary School, Kellie Boedecker.

The halls of Broadwater Elementary School in Helena were packed with brightly colored books for the first day of the Scripps Howard Fund's "If Give a Child a Book..." book fair.

Students checking out with Principal Boedecker

We were there as a kindergarten class got to go through and pick any six books they wanted, all for free.

This year is the book campaign's third at Broadwater Elementary School. The campaign is with Title 1 schools to get new books into the hands of under-served children who may live in poverty.

Many kids were drawn to their favorite characters, like "Bluey" and "Spiderman," or their favorite animal.

"One [student] only had cat books, and I didn't even know that we had six cat books, but we do," said Boedecker.

The books were paid for with donations from employees at MTN's Helena station, from the public, and the Scripps Howard Fund. The goal is to give kids the power of choice to build their own library at home.

Students reading their new books

Boedecker said, "Sometimes when we have the book fair where they purchase books, not every kid has access to that, and so when they get to come through here and take a book that they really want, it's really exciting."

All 252 students at Broadwater Elementary from kindergarten through fifth grade get to choose six books to take home, and when kids walk through the door and see the books, the excitement spreads throughout the school.

"All day long, every question has been 'when does my class get to go?', 'when does my class get to go?'," said Boedecker.

Student with "Bad Bunny"

She added that many of the older kids who have been through this book fair before will pick out books to share with their families.

"My fifth graders got a couple "Bluey" books, and I was like 'okay' and said I'm going to give this to my cousin, and we're going to read it together," Boedecker said.

Students reading a mermaid book

In addition to six books per student, the school will also be able to select 76 books for classrooms and their library.

The Scripps Howard Fund is a division of our parent company, and you can find ways to donate here.