Reading is fundamental, but it’s not free. Melrose Elementary School has spent more than $6,000 to put approximately 2,000 books into the hands of its students. The school gives out books at all awards assemblies, and, since 2012, every child receives a brand new book on his or her birthday. The Reading Is Fundamental program – the nation’s largest and oldest nonprofit children’s literacy organization – came to Melrose in 2006, and, for three years, all Melrose students received a book three times a year. For several years after that, funding was tight, but sponsors made it possible for students to continue to receive this gift of literacy. But for the past four to five years, a lack of funding put a stop to this valuable program. Melrose is happy to report that Reading Is Fundamental is back! With a little help from book fair earnings, all Melrose students are once again on the receiving end of free books. At Melrose, investing in students is money well spent!