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With public libraries closed, Dallas ISD helping build at-home libraries for K-6 students

DISD sent out packets of five books for every student to help grow reading during the summer.

DALLAS — The official end of school for Dallas ISD students is Wednesday, but nearly all at-home distance learning wrapped up last week. District leaders have come up with a new setup to help encourage reading during the summer.

Students will be receiving five books in the mail to help them with access to free reading material. 

This provides a different outlet for families while libraries in Dallas remain closed because of the coronavirus.

Jennifer Burchfiel, Dallas ISD's director of instructional strategy-early learning, says the program will allow students to share the reading experience with their families.

"Building libraries at home will be key to reducing the slowdown of reading among students who are at a critical age of building a strong foundation that will lead them to academic success,” Burchfiel said. 

Athena Navarro Hinkhouse has two students in Dallas ISD schools and says the packet of books is a welcome addition.

"I think it's amazing," Navarro Hinkhouse said. "They did not do it last year. I think they did it this year because of COVID and being concerned with summer slide.”

RELATED: Online learning or in-person? Districts to decide fall semester as anxious parents await

While there is no date for libraries in Dallas to reopen, city manager T.C. Broadnax says staff plans to present a reopen proposal to city council on June 3.

In a memorandum to council, Broadnax added the city is beginning to prepare library branches to receive checked out materials and to-go, curbside services in early June.

“I think by sending out these books, hopefully our kids keep reading throughout the summer," Navarro Hinkhouse said. "And then come August, they’re good to go."

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