In March, we did a book drive and staff, clients, and local businesses donated over 500 books. Loiselle donated $1 per book, for a total donation of $500, plus Books Are Wings received many volumes for their library.
Books Are Wings aims to put free books in the hands of children so they can experience the joy of reading. Their mission is to provide Rhode Island children with quality books to enrich their reading experiences.
Unfortunately, poverty and illiteracy go hand-in-hand. Almost 45,000 Rhode Island parents must choose between essentials and books, so it’s not surprising their reading skills suffer. In Rhode Island, 75% of economically disadvantaged third graders read below their grade level and most do not have appropriate reading material at home.
According to the National Literacy Trust, 92% of children who own their own books read at or above grade level expectations. Providing a child with at least 20 books in the home equals about 3 years of additional schooling. Exposing children to more reading material helps them develop a love for books, alleviates fears and anxieties, and improves their literacy so they can thrive.
Books Are Wings conducts books parties throughout the school year in participating elementary schools. Children read aloud, do a related craft activity, and choose books to take home to build a library of their own.
The program relies on Rhode Island’s Common Core standards to ensure students choose books that match language arts goals for their grade. With options such as health and wellness or sciences, the school can choose what suits student needs.
During the 2016/17 school year, Books Are Wings distributed 40,000 books through book parties, community outreach events, during summer recess, and through other ventures. Providing books during the summer recess is especially important to maintain reading skills acquired during the school year.
You’ll find Books Are Wings in soup kitchens, homeless shelters, and community centers. They also run their own recreation camps and summer community events and the work they do with elementary schools during the school year.
Many participating schools report they meet grade level expectations when they partner with Books Are Wings. Children from pre-kindergarten and up become enthusiastic readers as they’re exposed to more books and their reading skills strengthen.
If you would like to make a donation to the worthwhile cause of child literacy in Rhode Island, you can do so here. They also accept gently used or new books. Please follow their guidelines if you would like to contribute books or conduct a book drive.