Debbie's World of Books
My book reviews, book news & random rants

Give the Gift of Reading

December 14th, 2011 by Debbie's World of Books

For as long as I can remember I have loved reading and have been fortunate enough to have parents who encouraged the habit and have been able to buy me the books I wanted while growing up. My dad was alsohappy to take me to the library whenever I wanted.  So it always breaks my heart when I hear about those who can’t afford to access the books they want and miss out on all the joys of reading.  So while I know times are tough (our family has been hit as well with layoffs) I really wanted to encourage all my fellow book lovers to try and help out where you can.

Here are just a few opportunities I’ve stumbled across. The only one I’ve had personal experience with is DonorsChoose.org which was wonderful and I still have the pictures and letters the kids wrote about how much they enjoyed the books I helped provide.

From their site:

DonorsChoose.org is an online charity that makes it easy for anyone to help students in need.

Here’s how it works: public school teachers from every corner of America post classroom project requests on DonorsChoose.org. Requests range from pencils for a poetry writing unit, to violins for a school recital, to microscope slides for a biology class. Then, you can browse project requests and give any amount to the one that inspires you. Once a project reaches its funding goal, we deliver the materials to the school. You’ll get photos of your project taking place, a thank-you letter from the teacher, and a cost report showing how each dollar was spent. If you give over $50, you’ll also receive hand-written thank-you letters from the students. At DonorsChoose.org, you can give as little as $1 and get the same level of choice, transparency, and feedback that is traditionally reserved for someone who gives millions. We call it citizen philanthropy.

The great thing about this site is if you want to donate locally you can search for projects in a certain state, city or even at a particular school and narrow it down by subject area.  Here are some of the results that come up for California and literacy. Find out how you can help here.

This is a group my work place has worked with several times over the past few years.  From their website:

To provide Night Night Packages, free of charge, to homeless children from birth to pre- teen who need our childhood essentials to feel secure, cozy, ready to learn, and significant.  Each Night Night Package contains a new security blanket, an age- appropriate children’s book, and a stuffed animal — all nestled inside of a new canvas tote bag.  Project Night Night establishes a foundation for lasting change through the hands- on volunteer opportunities that we provide to tens of thousands of individuals each year. Voted the “Best Children’s Charity” by San Francisco Magazine, Project Night Night has emerged as a leading provider of nighttime comforts for homeless children.

Impact

25,000 homeless children receive Night Night Packages each year.

10,000 volunteers connect with and improve their communities annually.

125,000 children’s books donated since 2005.

Tens of thousands of bad dreams vanquished.

This organization grabbed my attention because of it’s focus on homeless children.  I feel like reading can play such a huge role in how a child grows up. Find out how you can help here.

This is a new organization to me that I stumbled across while looking for somewhere local I could donate some of our old children’s books. From their website:

Too many children in the Bay Area live in homes without books and attend schools and programs where books are in short supply. Encouraging reading is not enough when families and schools do not have books. The East Bay Children’s Book Project was founded to help build literacy by putting books into the hands of children who have little or no access to them. Working through individuals and organizations who help children in need, the East Bay Children’s Book Project has given out over 475,000 free books since opening its doors in May 2005. Our books are picked up and given directly to children in need by teachers, social workers, health care professionals, community outreach groups, housing authority employees, and police officers. Some are used by schools, daycare and community centers, homeless shelters, and hospitals to create libraries at their sites. Our clients determine how best to meet the needs of the children with whom they work.

Click here to see how you can help.

Scholastic sent me an email about this campaign.  From their site:

Once you sign up, you’ll be able to input your Bookprint – the five books that most influenced your life. You’ll then be able to connect with others through your shared Bookprints, interact with a global community of readers, and discover new books to enjoy…For every new Bookprint created, a brand-new book will be donated to Reach Out and Read.

Find our more here.

There are many, many opportunities out there to help encourage and support the gift of reading.  As avid readers I hope you will consider participating in spreading the joy of reading to others.

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