|Join the Home Library Collaboration . . . |
One hundred and eighty bookcases are in an HEB 18-wheeler bound for Brownsville!
Literacy Connexus has partnered with HEB, the Brownsville ISD, the Apasionados pro la Lectura Program, and churches in Brownsville to host nine family reading fairs on Friday morning, December 16th. Volunteers in churches across Texas (and Louisiana), as well as senior adult groups, have built bookcases, donated books, and contributed toward the purchase of books to encourage and equip parents to read to their young children.
On Friday morning, the nine family reading fairs will take place simultaneously. Parents and children will decorate (personalize) their bookcases, choose books for their home libraries, and take some time to read together. It's a simple idea. Other groups have been sharing books with families for years.
Here is some information about several organizations with direct connections to South Texas:
Reading is Fundamental is celebrating 45 years of service to children and families. By distributing books, staging reading motivation activities, and promoting the importance of literacy in communities, RIF makes a difference. See the Book People Unite video on the excellent RIF website, www.rif.org. (Really, just go there now and watch the video. It captures the urgency of this movement.)
The South Texas Literacy Coalition has benefitted from RIF, through the leadership of Congressman Ruben Hinojosa. Dr. Ida Acuna-Garza is the Executive Director of this organization. See http://southtexaslitcoalition.org/. The Coalition is providing books to families participating in Friday's family reading fairs in Brownsville.
Amanda Marlow, Director of Reach Out and Read Texas, reports that her organization is serving 8,000 children and families in the Brownsville area. This organization works with health care providers to give books to children at medical checkups, beginning at six months of age. See http://www.reachoutandreadtexas.org.
It just makes sense that kids need books at home to be ready for school (kindergarten). One of the best sources for information about how this works is Zero to Three--the National Center for Infants, Toddlers, and Families.
Recently the Annie E. Casey Foundation has begun to work with other funders to promote the Campaign for Grade Level Reading. The Campaign is a collaborative effort by dozens of funders across the nation to: close the gap in reading achievement that separates many low-income students from their peers; raise the bar for reading proficiency so that all students are assessed by world-class standards; and ensure that all children, including and especially children from low-income families, have an equitable opportunity to meet those higher standards.
Books for the Border will continue to work with counties along the border to encourage and equip parents to read to their young children. And we will continue to collaborate with persons and organizations in other parts of Texas (and the U.S.) to provide families with beginning home libraries. Already families in Amarillo, Batesville, Dallas, Fort Worth, Laredo, Lubbock, and San Antonio have benefited from this expansion. In 2012 plans are underway to expand to Corpus Christi, El Paso and other cities.
One of the most exciting new focal points for Literacy Connexus are those communities where churches are providing classes in English for speakers of other languages (ESL). We're asking ESL program leaders to ask the question, "Do all families represented have books at home for their children?"
Through Books for the Border (and Beyond), Literacy Connexus seeks to work with all who value the possibility of every child growing up in a home with books. Join the collaboration!
Lester Meriwether, Literacy Connexus Executive Director
Fort Worth, TX