Cleveland Kids’ Book Bank – A Worthy Cause
I’ve been involved in after school literacy programs when I was younger, I’ve read studies and books on literacy throughout my own education and have known how important literacy is to life outcome in the back of my head, it seems my whole life. Bookstores are my favorite places as you may know. And I don’t know if it’s because I now have my own kid, because that does significantly shift your perspective and priorities, but researching for this post and what I found really hit me hard.
Before Theo was even born, he had a library full of books just waiting to be read to him. Friends and family showered us with books at my baby shower and I naively assume this was just how it was. I was shocked to learn, upon digging deeper into the ‘why’ of the Cleveland Kids’ Book Bank, that 2/3 of low income families don’t own a single children’s book. This lone statistic blew my mind, humbled me and made me grateful for what we have. To think that tiny tots in our own city don’t have access to books – the building blocks of literacy, made my heart hurt.
Luckily, the Cleveland Kids’ Book Bank has already taken great strides to make this statistic a thing of the past. March of this year will mark the 3rd anniversary of their first distribution of books and they have already given away more than 1 million (!!) children’s books to families in our community. In addition to this distribution that is made possible by a partnership that they developed with an online bookseller, they also have a community of 60 Little Free Libraries that have been providing books to Cleveland neighborhoods since 2013.
But there is still so much work left to do. And this work is necessary, urgent, and the effect has the potential to be profoundly life changing for the receivers of these precious gifted books. Look no further than the evidence listed out here. Simply put, the path to anywhere, it seems, starts with books. To me, the most compelling issue that this organization can help to solve is the achievement gap.
“Academically, children growing up in homes with no books are on average three years behind children in homes with lots of books, even when controlled for other key factors such as income and parents’ education. (M.D.R. Evans et al, “Family scholarly culture and educational success: Books and schooling in 27 nations,” Research in Social Stratification and Mobility, June 2010, as quoted by BookHarvestNC.org.)
Ugh. Talk about a compounding problem that only seems to spiral as kids grow up. Books in the beginning lead to better outcomes. Let’s all do what we can with what means we have to support this great and worthy cause for change. Kids from everywhere deserve the fairest shot, and if it starts with books, then let’s give them books.
Want to get more involved with the Cleveland Kids' Book Bank?
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