Caleb Green, in green, reads a book to Gillespie students Tuesday, Jan. 23. [Principal Michelle Willis, left, parents Rhoda and Sylus Green, daughter, and teacher Linda Brothers, right.]
ROSELAND— In honor of National Reading Day, 5-year-old Caleb Green and nonprofit, Reading Is Fundamental, donated 1,000 books to Gillespie Elementary School Tuesday.
The school, 9301 S. State St., received a special guest, Caleb, the avid reader who recently read 100 books in just a day on Dec. 9. His parents streamed him reading on Facebook Live, pulling over 2 million views to date.
The nonprofit notified the school’s principal, Michelle Willis, asking her if she would accept the donation, Willis said.
On Tuesday, Caleb, a Pullman resident, showed up with his sister, mother, Rhoda Green, and father, Sylus Green, and helped read “I Love My Skin,” by Candace Smith to the Pre-K students. The book, which is on Amazon, encourages children of color to love their complexion and it tackles stereotypes they face because of their wide array of skin tones.”
Willis said that teachers and students “feel honored, excited and grateful” about being selected.
Each student was able to select at least three books each and the remainder will go to individual classroom libraries.
The new books are much appreciated, Willis said because “fostering a love of reading is a big deal at Gillespie.”
The school frequently organizes reading competitions and family nights to emphasize the importance of reading everyday, she said.
“We know that reading improves your vocabulary, fluency and comprehension skills,” Willis said. “This donation will assist us in ensuring that our students have a plethora of books to read.”
Caleb’s father said that the entire challenge started last month when Caleb, then four, asked how many books his sister had read. To top her nine, he said he’d read 100.
Because the family has a large in-home library, the children have always enjoyed reading—Caleb starting when he was just three-years-old, Green said.
Even still, he admitted he was caught off guard about the reading challenge.
“He surprised me and my wife,” Green said. “I think when he sat down to start, because we know him, I figured he would try to finish, and he stuck with it and did.”
It took Caleb nine hours to finish his books, Green said.
“We’re proud,” he said.
Now the family is promoting literacy and collecting 10,000 books to distribute to Chicago students. They’ve already reached 7,500 he said. To donate, visit The Amazing Green Kids and Friends on Facebook and click on the Amazon link.