When I think back to my childhood, many of my strongest memories involve reading and books: My mom reading to me every night before bed. Going to the library in the summer and coming home with a huge stack of books. Sitting in the bay window in our dining room on a rainy afternoon devouring a Stephen King novel. Saving spiders because they might be Charlotte (okay, I still do this!).
We want the children at Thrive! to have the same opportunities. Not only can reading function as a family strengthening activity, but it is crucial for learning. Although Thrive! families have access to our amazing Manhattan Public Library, there is something special about owning books, particularly when you are a child.
Research shows the importance of summer reading to academic success. In an in-depth study of Baltimore-area students, Alexander et al. (2007) concluded that students from both better-off and disadvantaged backgrounds made similar gains during the school year, the disadvantaged youth fell significantly behind in reading during the summer.
According to McGill-Franzen and Allington (2004), “Too many children spend their summer with no books to read.” Their research cites the necessity of finding novel ways to get books into the hands of children during summer breaks. This idea is supported by research from Barbara Heyn (1978), who found that reading was the most influential factor related to summer learning, and studies by Krashen (2004), which state what may seem like an obvious conclusion: “More access to books results in more reading.”
Thrive! is currently serving 26 children ages birth to 11. It is our goal to provide each child with a book each week of the summer to take home and keep, providing a family strengthening activity as well as growing the children’s libraries. That means 10 weeks of books times 26 children (and likely more since a new class just started!) we need to gather.
Do you have some gently used children’s books you’d like to donate? Would you like to make a financial contribution so we can purchase books from FirstBook? Contact Susan Wendland at firstname.lastname@example.org or 877-376-0032 or visit https://support.firstbook.org/fundraiser/1426834 to donate to our FirstBook fundraiser to help prevent summer learning declines while also strengthening families!
— Jayme Morris-Hardeman, executive director
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