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CPS’ superintendent says donated books provide opportunity for people to elevate in life

MU Health chief operating officer Katrina Lambrecht reads to students at Columbia’s Blue Ridge elementary, as MU Health interim CEO Nim Chinniah and TJ listen (August 30, 2022 file photo courtesy of MU Health photographer Justin Kelley)

The Columbia Public Schools (CPS) superintendent is praising MU Health Care for purchasing 2,600 new books for first and second graders at five CPS elementary schools.

The five elementary schools have the district’s lowest reading-proficiency scores and the highest free and reduced lunch rates in the district. CPS Superintendent Dr. Brian Yearwood notes the children were ecstatic to receive the new books.

“And that’s what we want. We want our scholars to be excited about reading, about literacy, about immersing themselves. Because then they can read, they can learn more and guess what: the world becomes like their door step,” Dr. Yearwood says.

The five CPS schools receiving books this year are Benton, Blue Ridge, Derby Ridge, Alpha Hart Lewis and Parkade elementary. Dr. Yearwood praises MU Health’s $15,000 donation, telling 939 the Eagle that books provide an opportunity for that person to elevate in life.

“To become whoever, whatever they will choose to be. If they want to be a doctor, lawyer, scientist, teacher. If they want to be a plumber, an electrician … guess what? It’s because of literacy, that’s what we love to see,” says Dr. Yearwood.

The Heart of Missouri United Way says children need ten grade-level books in their home to maintain grade-level reading.