Members of MPD helping students get excited about reading

CREATED May 6, 2013 - UPDATED: May 6, 2013

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MILWAUKEE - A literacy study shows one out of ten Wisconsin kindergarten students are not ready for classroom reading lessons.

But members of the Milwaukee Police Department want reading rates to be high so they helped start a book drive to make sure kids have books to read outside of school.

Through the entire month of March the Milwaukee Police Department, Wendy’s and the Next Door Foundation collected over 4,000 books to be distributed throughout the community.

“I like to read Elmo,” five-year-old Joseph Franklin tells TODAY’S TMJ4’s Jesse Ritka.

Joseph waited with other pre-schoolers outside Next Door with thank-you signs as District Three police officers and members from Wendy’s brought box after box of books to the library at the Next Door Foundation.

“Someone's always bringing the books,” Joseph noticed.

MPD’s Technical Communications Division and District Three are trying to get reading on a roll in the community with their “March for Literacy” Book Drive that started last year.

"I don't have a library at home,” explains Joseph.

But soon he, and many others, will have stories to put on their shelves.

Lieutenant Aimee Obregon loves how this program allows officers to be involved in the community and build positive relationships with the kids.

"Our goal of this is to make sure that every child in our community has books to call their own," she said.

Volunteers at the library will sort the 4,000+ books and gradually send them home with students and neighborhood children in the community through the Books for Kids program run through Next Door’s library.

Pam Edyburn is the Books for Kids Coordinator and knows how much this donation means to the kids who walk through the aisles.

”When they walk out of the library, they put their arms around a book. We tell them to hug up their book, they hug their book, they have great smiles on their faces that they know that that book is for them to keep,” Edyburn explained.

And keeping the books for their own at home library may just help lead the young readers to a bright future.

“Studies have shown that kids that have books to call their own as well as well as good reading skills have unlimited opportunities for success and that's something that the Milwaukee Police Department not only supports but also really wants to be a part of,” said Lt. Obregon.

Even though the March for Literacy book drive is complete, the Next Door Foundation is still accepting donations to keep their shelves full.

Information on how to donate can be found here.