Copyright © 2020 Albuquerque Journal
Kindergarten students across 10 school districts in New Mexico will be receiving a new book in time for National Read Aloud to a Child Week starting Sunday.
Two-thousand copies of the bilingual Spanish and English book, “Little Nita’s Big Idea” / “La gran idea de la pequeña Nita” by Anna W. Bardaus, have been provided by locally-owned and operated owners of McDonald’s franchise restaurants, according to a McDonald’s news release.
“We are excited to partner with McDonald’s in New Mexico to put even more books in the hands of elementary students,” Severo Martinez, literacy director at the New Mexico Public Education Department, said in the release. “Some of these children have never received a brand new book, and our hope is that this literacy program will help foster a love of reading, which will benefit students throughout their lives.”
Kindergarten students in the Alamogordo, Bernalillo, Bloomfield, Cobre, Hondo, Portales, Ruidoso, Santa Fe, Santa Rosa and Taos school districts are expected to receive a copy of the story about a young girl who dreams about making the world’s largest fruit salad. The story’s celebration of healthy food choices and diversity is an urban take on the classic children’s story, Stone Soup, where strangers come together and donate a little bit of food to create a soup with the ability to feed everyone who helped make it.
Lt. Gov. Howie Morales read the English version of the book during a recorded session hosted by the NMPED earlier this month.
“I encourage parents and caregivers … to read with their children at least 20 minutes a day because it goes such a long way,” Morales said. “While there are many expensive gadgets that may be out there that can assist with learning, that one single act of bonding makes the biggest difference.”
Within the last five years, New Mexico has fallen to the bottom of the list for child wellbeing, according to a 2018 Kids Count report. The report found that 75% of fourth graders did not have proficient reading skills compared with 65% of fourth graders nationally.