Every elementary student in both the Fort Osage and Independence school districts will be receiving a brand-new book during the last week of school.

The Local Investment Commission will distribute 7,115 books to kindergarten through fifth grade students in the Independence district and 1,849 books to kindergarten through fourth grade students in the Fort Osage district, said Adam McClun of LINC. Fort Osage fifth graders are part of the district’s middle school level, according to Stephanie Smith, Fort Osage’s director of public relations.

The “award-winning children’s literature,” said LINC Communications Director Brent Schondelmeyer, will match a student’s grade reading level. For example, kindergarteners will receive a new copy of “Corduroy” by Don Freeman, while fourth graders will be getting “When Life Gives You O.J.” by Erica S. Perl.

The new books are currently being delivered to each elementary school in the Fort Osage and Independence districts, Schondelmeyer said. He and Smith said they anticipate the books will be distributed to students sometime during the last week of school.

“Some schools will be having assemblies to hand out the books, while other sites will just have individual classrooms distribute them,” added McClun. “It depends on the school or building’s principal.”

Schondelmeyer said the books are being provided by First Book, a national literacy program that has distributed more than 100 million books to programs and schools with children from low-income families, according to its website, www.firstbook.org . This is the third year that LINC has been distributing books for kids in the greater Kansas City area to read during their summer vacation, he said, but the first year that both Independence and Fort Osage districts are part of the initiative.

The reason behind giving free books to elementary school students is to retain their reading level, said Schondelmeyer. He says studies show that reading levels in children regress during the summer months and this summer book distribution will encourage them to read more when they are out of school.

A total of 27,000 books will be distributed to elementary students in the Kansas City area this month that include Kansas City Public Schools, Grandview, Hickman Mills and North Kansas City school districts. The summer reading program’s distribution center, where LINC volunteers organize and ship books to 71 schools in the metropolitan area, was stationed in the basement of the Independence School District’s Central Office building.

Also, all books will come with a personalized plate that has the student’s name on it, said Schondelmeyer.

Here is a list of what titles kindergarten through fifth grade students will be receiving:

Kindergarten: “Corduroy” by Don Freeman

First grade: “Bread and Jam for Frances” by Russell Hoban

Second grade: “Officer Buckle and Gloria” by Peggy Rathmann

Third grade: “Magic Treehouse #25: Stage Fright on a Summer Night” by Mary Pope Osborne

Fourth grade: “When Life Gives You O.J.” by Erica S. Perl or “Squish #3: The Power of the Parasite” by Jennifer L. Holm and Matt Holm

Fifth grade: “Locomotion” by Jacqueline Woodson or “The Graveyard Book” by Neil Gaiman