Valley children receive new books

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PHOENIX (3TV/CBS 5) -  A Valley girl who has never owned a book now has plenty to read thanks to a generous donation from an organization helping children in need.

Pi Beta Phi Fraternity for Women distributed 20,000 new books to Phoenix area schools, after-school programs and community programs serving students from low-income families and Title I schools.

For many of the students, these are the first new books they have ever owned and are the first step to creating a lifelong love of reading.

The smile on Alyson's face says it all. With a brand new book in hand, the 12 year-old wasted no time and started reading.

Alyson is a sixth grader living at UMom with her family. The homeless shelter just got a shipment of 200 brand new books for children of all ages.

The generous donations were just dropped off courtesy of Pi Beta Phi Fraternity for Women. The organization recognized a need to promote literacy for low-income families with children in the Valley. 

Alyson never owned any books and, ironically, since she started accumulating a library of her own thanks to UMom's reading program, she aspires to inspire others.

"I always wanted to be an author because my mom says the stories I write are usually good," she said. 

"I think that alone just kind of helps attest to the fact that kids want these books, and they read them and they keep coming back every week to get them," said Aly Mabry, special events coordinator for UMom. 

Phoenix was chosen as the book distribution location because it is an area of great need.

In Phoenix, 42 percent of fourth graders fall below basic reading levels, as reported by the National Assessment of Educational Progress. Access to new, age-appropriate books helps change these children's lives.