Courtesy of First Book
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We take the ability to curl up with a good story for granted. Unfortunately, not everyone has access to books. For the 32 million American children growing up in low-income families, books are rare. In one low-income neighborhood in Washington, D.C., there is approximately one book for every 800 children. But children need books in their lives in order to do well in school and in life. Half of students from low-income backgrounds start first grade up to two years behind other students. If a child is a poor reader at the end of first grade, there's a 90% chance they're going to be a poor reader at the end of fourth grade.

In order to help close the literacy gap, First Book launched Give a Million, a Giving Tuesday campaign to put one million new, high-quality books in the hands of children. Since 1992, the nonprofit has distributed over 185 million books and educational resources, a value of more than $1.5 billion. Many educators lack the basic educational necessities in their classrooms, and First Book helps provide these basic needs items.


The aptly named Give a Million campaign aims to raise $1 million between now and December 6. So far, more than $125,000 has been raised thanks to donations from award-winning authors and their foundations, including The Mo and Cher Willems Foundation, Alane Adams and her Rise Up Foundation, and Marissa Meyer.

The gift of a book is a little that goes a long way. "Bringing new books to kids in need has an immeasurable impact, and for many kids, it will be the first book they have ever owned, or the only gift they will receive during the holidays," said Kyle Zimmer, president, CEO, and co-founder of First Book.

Courtesy of First Book

First Book believes books offer children in need the best path out of poverty. "The sense of self-esteem that comes with that is worth far more than $1 million, and the fact that it also furthers their academic possibilities makes the gift of a book invaluable. This is an easy ask — grant a wish and give a child a future of possibility," Zimmer said.

What children read now can last a lifetime. When students have more books at home, they're more likely to have higher reading scores at school. Not only that, children who choose what they read and are allowed to read in an informal environment have more of an appetite for reading. They also have greater literacy and language development. Allowing children to read as they please by giving them books plants a seed in their young minds, allowing them to blossom as they grow.

First Book is collecting donations for Give a Million via their website. You can click here to donate.

UPDATE: First Book's Give a Million campaign ended a few days after Giving Tuesday, and they are proud to have raised over $200,000 with the help of generous authors and supporters like you. Though they're shy of their ambitious goal, they're still confident that with the support of book lovers across the nation, they can provide a million books to kids who need them. Thanks to a generous donation match by their partners, Penguin Random House, every gift made to First Book through 12/31 has double the impact. Every $3 = 2 books to kids in need! Click here to find out how to Take Action for literacy with First Book and make a matched donation today.

This article is sponsored by C&S Wholesale Grocers.

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