Author: Jose Cruz, Chief Executive Officer, San Diego Council on Literacy
Since July 1, 2017, the San Diego Council on Literacy has distributed over 6,000 new books and 400 sets of The Reading Game to low-income children/families living in the following cities/communities:
60% of low-income children have no books at home. The donated books and games help to provide low-income children with opportunities to read or to be read to. With these resources, children are entertained, have intellectual stimulation, expand their capacity to visualize and imagine, gain exposure to print, gain practice in hearing and using new words, and receive more opportunities to practice critical thinking skills.
These books contribute to youth success in school and are the gateway and pathway to a life of enjoying reading and having the skills needed for college and careers. Also, of course, books provide an escape from the world, and hope, which, for some children, is often needed. So, these books also contribute to mental health and give parents the tools they need to prepare their children for school.
Many of the children who received books from the San Diego Council on Literacy have never had a book of their own to keep and take home. We have to remind the children not to bring the books back to school. They are not on loan! The children have the challenge of telling their parents that these are not books from the classroom or the library; they are not to be returned.
Almost as much as the children, the teachers are just as excited for the book giveaway opportunities. While we as a community and society go about the task of addressing symptoms to root problems, the opportunity to give books to children helps to plant seeds that help them to grow and gain emotional stability. Their prospects for success at school, high school graduation, college, and careers are significantly increased.
"We love books! Thank you from Mrs. Kisbert's Transitional Kindergarten Class" - Magnolia Elementary School, El Cajon.
2,500 children self-selected two books each. The self-selection format significantly increases the likelihood that children will read the books that are given to them. We will await the results of new reports from the Smarter Balanced assessment tool to see if there is a bump/increase in the language arts scores of 3rd-graders who received books this year and in previous years. This is the third-year that we targeted schools in the El Cajon community. Anza and Magnolia Elementary are our test schools.