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Community partnerships boost literacy efforts in Washougal School District

The Columbian
Published: February 24, 2024, 5:35am

WASHOUGAL — Elementary students at Washougal School District benefited from a flurry of early literacy programs this winter. Recent book donations and literacy grants at Washougal schools help to provide young learners with early reading materials. Early literacy lays the foundation for future learning by strengthening critical thinking skills, creativity, and comprehension.

Literacy is also an early indicator of academic success. Washougal School District students outperformed the state overall in English Language Arts on the Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium standardized test last year. “When kids discover an early passion for reading, it immerses them in their areas of interest and introduces them to new avenues for discovery,” said librarian Hillary Chapman.

Read Northwest hosted book giveaway events for first- through third-grade students at Hathaway Elementary, Columbia River Gorge Elementary, and Gause Elementary School this winter. This program is made possible thanks to donations of books from the Molina Foundation via the Children’s Literacy Project. Every student was able to choose one free book to take home from the hundreds of options set up in a book fair-style display at the event.

“Our goal is to not only foster a love for reading among children but also to ensure that every child has access to the resources they need to build their literacy skills. We want every student to have the chance to own a book they’re excited about,” said Anna Paul, Washougal schools volunteer coordinator with Read Northwest.

Volunteers with the Gause Boosters organized a fundraiser to replace lost, stolen or damaged books from the Gause Elementary library this year. The initiative reflects the community’s investment in childhood literacy and commitment to ensuring that students have access to a wide range of reading materials.

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