The Need

Imagine it:

You’ve just come home from the pharmacy with a prescription antibiotic and an inhaler for your little one who is home sick from school. You unload various over-the-counter cold and flu elixirs and decongestant pills that were recommended to you – plus the chicken noodle soup and popsicles, of course. But now, as you stare at the different bottles, boxes, vials and packets you’ve just brought home, you can’t seem to recall which should be taken first, let alone for how long, or even which ones should NOT be taken with another. You immediately consult the warning inserts and instruction sheets; but suddenly, the letters begin to swirl and run together, forming words you’ve never seen before and sentences that seem to run on forever and ever. You can barely discern a word here or there that you know. "The." "And." "Danger." Meanwhile, your little one shivers subtly on the couch, coughing, sniffling, and fighting a fever that just won’t quit …

Sadly, this is the plight of nearly 93 million of your fellow American adults who read at or below basic literacy levels. Basic literacy skills do NOT include basic tasks such as identifying a specific location on a map or comprehending nutritional information on food labels – these tasks are designated as average or higher.

This disturbing statistic starts early with nearly 34 % of children entering kindergarten lacking the basic skills needed to learn to read. By fourth grade, the figures aren’t much better, with approximately 65% of fourth graders reading at or below the basic level.

By the time they reach adulthood, their poor literacy skills will impact nearly every aspect of life, from earning potential, to social & civic participation, even (as described above) health.

The bottom line: kids need books. At home, at school … in life. But many local students simply don’t have the access to books that they need in order to succeed.

To help bridge the gap, we’re pleased to offer the BookStorm Program in partnership with Better World Books. Local educators receive book donations for their students, and we bring the public library directly to school to help foster a lifelong love of learning.

Sources: Reading Is Fundamental, National Center for Educational Statistics

"Once you learn to read, you will be forever free.” ~ Frederick Douglass

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