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    The gift of e-reading: Amazon donates Kindles to local private school

    photoPhoto Courtesy/Craig Stevens. Students at the Newton School open Amazon Kindle Keyboards donated by the company. The gift was a surprise for the students until Thursday morning, when they were delivered.

    Fifty-four students at the Newton School opened a present early this holiday season – brand-new Kindle Keyboards, the latest generation of Amazon’s popular e-reader.

    The 60 Kindles, an unsolicited donation from an Amazon distribution center in Sterling, came with a $2,500 gift certificate to download content onto the Kindles. The donation was kept from the students until the Amazon employees arrived at the school Thursday morning.

    The Newton School is a kindergarten through 7th-grade private school that caters to students with above average academic abilities who have trouble in a traditional school environment. Some of the students have a learning disability or attention deficit disorder, according to the school’s website. They plan to expand to eighth grade next year.

    Allison Abraham, the school’s founder and principal, said she was presently surprised the school had been chosen for the donation.

    “I didn’t tell anybody about it until the Kindles showed up,” Abraham said. “This is too good to be true.”

    Abraham said the Kindles would be useful in the classroom as they served as a form of visual learning and also had a guided reading function where the Kindle speaks the words on the screen.

    “The kids at our school tend to have some issues,” Abraham said. “We try to use as much multimedia as possible.”

    Amazon employs roughly 200 people at its Sterling distribution center and ships Amazon merchandise to locations in Northern Virginia and the Delmarva Peninsula. 

    “We try to give back to the community where we have a presence,” said Bob Underwood, the Sterling distribution center site manager.

    Kelly Cheeseman, who works in Amazon’s corporate communications department, said the donation was part of a larger program of giving Kindles to special education students.

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