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TOOELE -- Four schools and four thousand books were the part of the flight plan for Chopper 5 and a whirlwind tour of Tooele.
"It just shows that this community cares about each one of these kids," said Jeff Wyatt, principal of West Elementary.
Wyatt's was one of the schools where community celebrations showed strong support for reading.
On the playgrounds of West, Copper Canyon, Stansbury Park and Middle Canyon Elementary schools, dozens of community tutors stood with the children they are mentoring. Parents cheered the importance of reading while community partners like Big O Tires provided thousands of new books, and Chopper 5 landed as part of Read Today's Reader Reward.
"I think we've been very fortunate that our community has always been supportive and involved," said Xenia Young, principal of Stansbury Park Elementary.
Schools focus on reading as a fundamental skill. They know it is the most basic skill students can master. But they also know they can't do it alone.
Tooele Superintendent Terry Linares got emotional when she said, "I just know that reading will make a difference and sometimes it just takes that other adult working with them one on one to make that difference."
The tutoring is part of KSL's Read Today program. Tutors this year have been paired with struggling readers. And program coordinators say they already seen a difference.
"We have kids who are not only getting to read better, but are really loving books," said principal Young. "They're really interested in what we have to offer in the library."
Heidi Spaulding, an Americorps literacy aid, added, "It's such a warm atmosphere that the tutors bring in with them. The Children love to come and visit them and be with them and read with them."
For students, the excitement of a helicopter landing and new books underscored the importance of reading. Fourth grader Kobe Petersen put a semi-positive spin on his school's reading emphasis. "They make us read 30 minutes every night," he said.
For more on Reader Rewards driven by Big O Tires go to readtoday.com.