The KGUN9 team is giving back to the community. We want to make sure more than 300 kids at Nash Elementary School here in Tucson get the chance to take home 10 brand new books each. This is the eighth year of our “If You Give A Child A Book” campaign supporting childhood literacy.

Research from groups like “Read Aloud 15 Minutes” finds that more than one in three kids start kindergarten without the skills necessary for lifetime learning. Another finding from the Annie E Casey Foundation says a kid who doesn’t read at grade level when they leave first grade has an 88% chance of not being where they need to be by the end of 4th grade. Choice matters as well. The 2019 Scholastic Kids & Family Reading Report says 89% of kids they talked to agree their favorite books are the ones that they have picked out themselves.

“They love school. They live for school. They’re even sad when we have vacation time, when they can’t be in school. Nash is a very special place. It’s, I think, one of the hidden secrets of Amphi District and Tucson.”

Those are the words of Julie Gates. She’s taught first grade at Nash Elementary since the early 90’s. Over the years she says she has seen technology reshape how her kids read and understand new concepts. But the kids still connect with something they can hold in their hands.

“It has a bunch of pages and I like books that are really hard,” said Stefen, one of Mrs. Gates’ first graders.

Our Give a Child A Book campaign makes sure kids like Stefen discover their new favorite story.

“I like reading because I want to know new things that are in books. Books tell you new things.”

This year, Stefen picked the classic Shel Silverstein story, “The Giving Tree”.

“I like that they grow stuff and you just gotta be so patient for them to grow.” Stefen told me.

“Do you think that’s something we can learn from trees?” I asked him.


The biggest hope behind this campaign is that kids like Stefen develop a lifelong love of learning and the literacy skills to succeed in life.

“We need to learn to read for math. We need to learn to read to do science.” Said Gates.

She and her colleagues know their students still face a disadvantage.

“A lot of times, they have to do without the extras in our population. So being able to choose the books that they want and really engage them in reading is so important.”

Nash receives Title I funds to help fill some of the students’ academic gaps as many parents try to make ends meet.

“Our parents want the very best, just like all parents, for their kids. This provides them just that extra…the books they are able to have, take home and keep that they might not be able to buy.”