On Thursday more than 12,000 books were delivered to local elementary school students in Washoe County as part of the Reno News & Review's “Read and Succeed” book drive. Around 24 different schools in Reno and Sparks received the books. Reno News & Review partnered with the Community Compact and the Washoe County School District to make it happen.

Reno News & Review General Manager John Murphy started off this morning bright and early at 8:00 a.m. He drove a big Budget truck filled with thousands of books to be delivered to local elementary school students.

Drops had to be quick throughout the day in order to get deliveries to all 24 schools done in one day. The reactions on the students' faces were priceless when they saw the new books. Students in Mr. Pratte's class at Rita Cannan Elementary were thrilled to get their “take-home” books so they could read at home, not just inside a classroom. “I was amazed because I really love books and sometimes I just get lost in the story,” said Madison Tucker.

There was everything from mystery novels to sci-fi books, something students like Norman Dupree like to read. “It was great. We get to read more and see how other books could be special to other kids.

John Murphy explained to us, how it all happened… “It's a combination of the Community Compact and Washoe County School district and places like grassroots that donate books and other private enterprises,” said Murphy. The program started about three years ago and was nearly discontinued until the Reno News & Review stepped in to help keep the program alive. Murphy says it's important to keep students interested in reading books at home, and to give students a good variety of books to choose from. “There are books in there for really all grade levels in elementary schools.” said Murphy.

Spanish books were also delivered to several schools because as many as 50% of classrooms and schools are filled with kids who speak English as a second language. “Whether its Spanish or English, reading is reading and you develop literacy either way,” said Murphy.

For teachers like Mr. Pratte, extra books around the school can help influence students positively in the classroom. “We're working on their writing so if they have exposure to read how authors do introductions, give more adjectives to describe things, give them details… all that can enhance their reading as well as their speaking and writing,” said Pratte.  

This year the goal is to give out more than 60,000 new books to Washoe County students. Since the “Read & Succeed” drive started, more than 72,000 books have been delivered to students since Spring 2013. “Sometimes there are just kids that don't get a lot of chances to read books, so I think it's really cool that we do,” said Tucker.