SALISBURY, Md. - The city of Salisbury is hosting the first Ernie Bond Memorial Book Drive, but it's not just about collecting books. It's about addressing a bigger problem on school readiness.
In Maryland, just 43% of children starting kindergarten are actually ready for school.
The State Department of Education measures readiness in-part by looking at language and literacy.
Because those numbers are less than half, some volunteers are hoping a new book drive will help turn the page.
"In our county, we have a problem with children who are 5, who are report to kindergarten who aren't ready to learn. If they aren't ready to learn in kindergarten, they fall increasingly behind as they advance," Hanlin tells 47 ABC.
David Hanlin is a committee member with the Community Book Drive. He says they are collecting for all different ages, but they are hoping to target children under 8 years old. We are told this is a very critical age, as they develop certain skills for language and literacy.
Schools in Wicomico County are hoping to target children as well.
"We need to make sure that we get books in the hands of children as soon as possible, it's very important. We see the impact when they get here to school. Those students who have had that experience with literacy tend to do much better in school," Tacka says.
Prince Street Elementary's reading intervention teacher and new Wicomico Teacher of the Year, Christen Tacka, says taking books home can be a crucial component to help students.
Also, having somebody read to them at home is also essential for their success reading in school.
As a reading intervention teacher, Tacka is able to push students who are falling behind. She says the best feeling is to finally see a child put the pieces together to finally have the ability to read.
"They are able to read a sentence, read a word then a sentence, put it all together and they finally understand what it means to read a book. And it's something that stays with them forever," Tacka tells 47 ABC.
The book drive started April 20th, 2017 and runs through May 20th, 2017.
They are collecting all books, except magazines or text books.
There are drop off centers at many locations throughout Wicomico County. Click here to see those locations.