Monday, December 17, 2012

Time to Give to Literacy

As I do each year, I am posting sites that provide books to children. They need your help, especially at this time of the year. These organizations do fine work distributing books and helping kids to read here and around the world. This information was culled from Charity Navigator and I limited the list to organizations that support literacy, particularly for poor children. The organizations that I selected all spend more than 80% of their funding on their programming, and provide books or services on more than a local basis. Please be generous. (Disclosure: I am on the board of directors of Reach Out and Read, and I regularly support them through my own charitable giving). I have updated the links to make sure that I am not wasting your time.

Have a happy holiday everybody.

Reach Out and Read
Founded in 1989, Reach Out and Read prepares America's youngest children to succeed in school by partnering with doctors to prescribe books and encourage families to read together. Doctors, nurse practitioners, and other medical professionals incorporate Reach Out and Read's evidence-based model into regular pediatric checkups, by advising parents about the importance of reading aloud and giving developmentally-appropriate books to children. The program begins at the 6-month checkup and continues through age 5, with a special emphasis on children growing up in low-income communities. Families served by Reach Out and Read read together more often, and their children enter kindergarten with larger vocabularies and stronger language skills, better prepared to achieve their potential. Currently, more than 27,000 doctors and nurse practitioners at 4,600 hospitals, health centers, and clinics participate in Reach Out and Read, serving nearly 4 million children and families nationwide.

Reading is Fundamental
Founded in 1966, Reading Is Fundamental (RIF) prepares and motivates children to read by delivering free books and literacy resources to those children and families who need them most. RIF's highest priority is reaching underserved children from birth to age eight. Through community volunteers in every state and U.S. territory, RIF provides 4.5 million children with 16 million new, free books and literacy resources each year. All RIF programs combine three essential elements to foster children's literacy: reading motivation, family and community involvement, and the excitement of choosing free books to keep.

Books for Africa
Founded in 1988, Books for Africa (BFA) collects, sorts, ships, and distributes books to children in Africa. Our goal is to end the book famine in Africa. Books donated by publishers, schools, libraries, individuals, and organizations are sorted and packed by volunteers who carefully choose books that are age and subject appropriate. We send good books, enough books for a whole class to use. Since 1988, Books For Africa has shipped more than 20 million books to 45 African countries. They are on once-empty library shelves, in classrooms in rural schools, and in the hands of children who have never before held a book. Each book will be read over and over again. When the books arrive, they go to those who need them most: children who are hungry to read, hungry to learn, hungry to explore the world in ways that only books make possible.

Jumpstart is a national early education organization that works toward the day every child in America enters school prepared to succeed. Through extraordinary attention in yearlong one-to-one relationships, Jumpstart inspires children to learn, adults to teach, families to get involved, and communities to progress together. Headquartered in Boston, Jumpstart pairs 4,000 trained adults one-to-one with preschool children in need of assistance. During the 2008-2009 program year, Jumpstart is serving 15,000 children across 20 states and the District of Columbia in partnership with more than 300 early learning centers and 74 universities and colleges throughout the country.

First Book
Founded in 1992, First Book provides new books to children in need addressing one of the most important factors affecting literacy - access to books. An innovative leader in social enterprise, First Book has distributed more than 65 million free and low cost books to disadvantaged children and the programs that serve them through an extensive volunteer network of Advisory Boards, First Book National Book Bank large-scale book distributions, and the First Book Marketplace offering high-quality titles at reduced cost. First Book now has offices in the U.S. and Canada.

Reading Excellence and Discovery Foundation
Reading Excellence and Discovery Foundation (DBA Read Alliance) serves at-risk kindergarten and first graders by recruiting and training teens to provide structured one-to-one tutoring in reading. Read Alliance focuses on students in the early grades to prevent reading difficulties before they become barriers to future success. Our students average a full grade level improvement in reading while their teen tutors develop college, career and life skills. We have served more than 15,000 children and teens since our founding in 2000!

Room to Read
Room to Read believes that World Change Starts with Educated Children. We envision a world in which all children can pursue a quality education that enables them to reach their full potential and contribute to their community and the world. Room to Read seeks to transform the lives of millions of children in developing countries by focusing on literacy and gender equality in education. Working in collaboration with local communities, partner organizations and governments, we develop literacy skills and a habit of reading among primary school children, and support girls to complete secondary school with the relevant life skills to succeed in school and beyond.

United Through Reading
The mission of United Through Reading is to unite families facing physical separation by facilitating the bonding experience of reading aloud together. Our vision is that all children will feel the security of caring family relationships and develop a love of reading through the read-aloud experience. Founded in 1989 as Family Literacy Foundation, we provide programs that encourage parents and other community members to read aloud with young children (ages 0-5) for the educational and emotional benefits to all involved.

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