PATERSON, NJ- During this season of giving, students and staff at International High School decided to give back to their community by collecting, packaging and cheerfully providing children at nearby Dale Ave Elementary School with books to advance the city's expanding literacy initiative.

With fewer libraries, household budgetary constraints and smartphones becoming the entertainment of choice, advocates say that we must work harder to develop a culture and passion of reading, adding that research has indicated that children who read for pleasure are not only more likely to be lifelong readers, but they are also more likely to succeed both academically and socially.  

With the guidance of their Principal, Dr. Robina Puryear-Castro, and their Supervisor, Kathy Esquiche, more than 20 International High School students coordinated the Monday event to encourage a love of reading.  

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Over 100 kindergarten students were greeted with "high fives" in exchange for their affirmation of a love of reading, were encouraged to ask their caregivers to read to them at home, and treated to a special reading by First Lady Farhanna Sayegh. Following Sayegh’s selections the students enthusiastically retold the stories and answered questions about what they had just heard.  

To make the entire event even more special, International High School students convinced Santa Claus and Mrs. Claus to take detour from their earlier visit to Edward W. Kilpatrick School on their way back to the North Pole to help distribute books donated by the Our Way to H.O.P.E  for Paterson children to keep, to admire and to learn from.

Organizers said they hope that this will inspire more Patersonians to do the same.   


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