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Cockrell Hill Elementary received a $1,000 grant from bestselling author James Patterson to support its school library. In addition, Scholastic Reading Club will match each dollar of Patterson’s donation with “bonus points” that teachers can use to acquire books and other materials for their classrooms. Cockrell Hill Elementary was selected from more than 28,000 applications for funding grants.

Cockrell Hill Librarian Trina Taylor said the funds will be used to expand the early chapter book section of the library.

“We have purchased additional early readers for our students to grow their comprehension and vocabulary with stories they enjoy,” said Taylor “Chapter books are exciting because the characters continue in the series though different challenges, often challenges that mirror our young students lives including changes at home and school. Once a student starts a series, they often read as many as possible.”

James Patterson and Scholastic Reading Club announced in March 2015 that Patterson would donate $1.5 million to save school libraries nationwide, with grants ranging from $1,000 to $10,000, as part of an ongoing effort to keep books and reading a number one priority in the United States. Due to the high demand for funding from school libraries nationwide, Patterson announced he will increase his donation by another $250,000, bringing his total donation to $1.75 million. All funds are being personally donated by Patterson.

“With nearly half the population currently reading at or below the basic level, the United States is truly in the middle of a crisis,” says Patterson, who recently launched the children’s book imprint jimmy patterson, aimed at making books available to kids through teacher scholarships, bookstore funding, school library support, and book donations. “I’ve now read over a thousand letters from school librarians, teachers, and parents about the lack of resources at our country’s schools. How will children make it to high school without access to books? This is a huge problem—and we have to take action. I hope that education will become a major topic on Capitol Hill and in the upcoming presidential debates.”

“We’ve been deluged with an enormous number of requests for support from across the country,” said Judy Newman, President of Scholastic Reading Club. “More than anything else, school libraries are desperate for books to fill their shelves. James Patterson’s generosity underscores a great need, and, thanks to him, many children will be welcomed back to school with the books they need to discover a love of reading.”

In the first-ever partnership of its kind, Patterson joined forces with Scholastic Reading Club to administer funding applications to their network of 62,000 schools and 800,000 teachers. The first $500,000 of Patterson’s donation was awarded to 127 school libraries. The next wave of grant recipients will be announced in early Fall 2015. The full list of grant recipients is available online at www.scholastic.com/pattersonpartnership

Any U.S. school with students from pre-kindergarten to 12th grade is eligible for a grant. Patterson hopes that the high volume of requests and the publicity surrounding the donation will raise awareness for the problems facing school libraries today. To learn more, go to mediaroom.scholastic.com/scholasticreadingclub and follow #PattersonPledge on social media.

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