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Students give the gift of reading

There may be no better lesson in learning than combining reading with helping others to learn to read. As one of 100 winners of Scholastic Book Clubs' Whoopi! We're Reading! sweepstakes, Becky DiCaprio's Sacandaga Elementary School first-grade class was able to donate 1,000 books to local charities.

This was a thrill, said DiCaprio, whose students read 100 books as part of the contest. "My students got so much out of this contest and, on top of it all, now get to share the gift of reading with others."

The class chose to give books to the Literacy Volunteers, the YWCA, Schenectady Inner City Ministry food bank and the City Mission of Schenectady.

Liz Allen from the Literacy Volunteers spoke to the class Tuesday, May 20, to thank them for the donation and to let them know what a difference it will make.

"There is no greater gift to a child than a book, and you made it happen through all of your hard work and heartfelt dedication," said Allen.

The national sweepstakes, sponsored by Scholastic Book Clubs, challenged 17,000 classes to read in October. As part of the contest, actress Whoopi Goldberg asked classrooms across the country to read for the chance to give to others.

The sweepstakes was open to teachers in all classrooms participating in Scholastic Book Clubs' Classrooms Care program, now in its sixth year, which sends 100 books to kids in need for every 100 books read in participating classrooms. Nationally the program has helped children during Hurricane Katrina and the Tsunami.

"It is a program that I would love to take part in again in the future. I was so happy to be a part of it," said DiCaprio.

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