PEORIA, Ill. — Literacy and education organizations around Peoria are teaming up for a fall book drive.

Through this book drive, I think we’re going to see the outpouring of love and support that Central Illinois is so good at and so we’re very excited. I think everyone understands the importance of reading and making sure that we intervene at a really young age and it’s really simple to do.

Dr. Nicole Wood, Executive Director of Primary Schools | Peoria Public Schools

The literacy-focused group Read Peoria, made up of members from Peoria Public Schools, Peoria Public Schools Foundation and Align Peoria, announced the book drive Thursday. The purpose is to collect enough books to fill PPS’ 15 Little Free Libraries for the entire school year. They are estimating about 10,000 books to accomplish the goal.

Tmiesa Milligan loves to read. This kindergartner says books are fun.

“I read all the time,” said Milligan. “When it’s nighttime and I read everyday. I like to read because I like reading to my sister and myself.”

For seventh grader Chavez Allen, he said books help kids be successful at an earlier age.

“It helped me learn a lot of words and help my fluency when I read, said Allen. “When I was like in fourth grade, I used to read slow. Now I don’t because I read at school a lot.”

It’s this exact message that peoria public schools is trying to get across.

“The research we have shows that if they [students] have access to books, that they actually chose, they increase their reading level by three grades,” said Read Peoria co-chair, Amanda Campbell.

You can bring your donations to any Peoria Public School with a Little Free Library or to The Book Rack at the corner of Lake and Knoxville in Peoria. We are also accepting monetary donations that can be made by check payable to PPS Foundation/Book Drive and dropped off at 5901 N. Prospect Road Suite 14E, Peoria, IL 61614.