Ricebird Readers

El Campo ISD students picked up free books Saturday at the “Magic Of Storytelling” event, sponsored by Disney and hosted by the school district, Rotary Club of El Campo and other volunteers. Each ECISD student received three free books. Pictured above (L-r), ECISD students Jerry Mauch, Kameron Mauch, ABC13 Reporter Pooja Lodhia and student Jasmine Mauch check out the kids’ new books.

New worlds of imagination and learning were opened for almost 500 El Campo ISD students who received free kids’ books over the weekend, thanks to an event coordinated by the El Campo Rotary, Disney and other local volunteers.

The Magic Of Storytelling event was held drive-through style Saturday, due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, with 475 students attending.

“We are so thrilled to put books into our students’ homes and believe reading every day positively impacts learning,” ECISD Assistant Superintendent Dolores Trevino said.

Students who couldn’t pick up their books Saturday will be given their books at school Monday. The Rotary, Rotaract, Literacy Advocates Club, ECISD employees and other volunteers helped distribute books.

Each student received three books, selected from a variety of titles including ‘Aladdin’ and ‘Dumbo,’ both based off of Disney’s famous movies, ‘Happy Birthday Mickey,’ and more. A combination of picture books and chapter books were distributed, with the titles given depending on the students’ age.

Wharton ISD students also received books on Saturday, bringing the total number of donated books to about 10,000. About 3,000 students received books between the two districts, according to ABC13 Eyewitness News.

“It was absolutely a highly successful event,” Former Rotary President Mindi Snyder said.

The distribution event was coordinated by Rotary, ECISD, national non-profit First Book, Disney and Houston news network ABC13. Snyder heard about similar events in Houston through her involvement with Rotary, and reached out to see if a local book distribution would be possible.

Families virtually attended a “Rally for Reading” live stream on Friday featuring appearances from kids’ show celebrities and local guest speakers before coming to pick up their books the next day.

Several volunteers wore Mickey Mouse ears or made spirit signs for the event. El Campo High School students also performed, playing music and dancing as students and parents drove through the line.

“We are grateful for the many volunteers, our ECHS Band and Derby Dolls, who made the event fun and exciting,” Trevino said. “This event was Ricebird pride at its best.”

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