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Class of 2034 Receives Books to Build Literacy Skills

More than 16,000 books donated to Madison’s 5K students.

For the second year, memorial gifts given to the Foundation in honor of Karen C. Ragatz, who passed away in February 2021, were used to purchase 16,000 books that were distributed to all 5K scholars in the district. Titles were distributed in English, Spanish and Hmong, and students are encouraged to read these books at home with their families.

“It was so beautiful to see our students legitimately squeal with delight over such high interest for books,” said Claire Frees, a dual-language kindergarten teacher at Henderson Elementary School. Joshua Forehand, Principal at Nuestro Mundo Community School shared, “research shows that having books in the home correlates to success in school and beyond. Many of the books that have been donated are bilingual which greatly increases the possibility of families reading their children in the home”.

The family agreed helping students build essential literacy skills was a fitting tribute to Karen, a long-time district volunteer who then became an ESL educator at Thoreau Elementary School.

“I like these books. I really love them. I feel really happy,” said one 5K student at Lapham Elementary School.

Another student added: “I feel excited to get these books just for myself.”

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