If you were a child of the 70′s and 80′s you may remember these commercials for RIF, short for Reading is Fundamental. The commercials always struck me as important and something I should pay attention to even at such a young age. Maybe it was the tone of the music or the fact that they used celebrities on occasion to catch our attention. Of course I would listen to what Carol Burnett or Ed Asner were saying!
I can picture myself sitting cross-legged on our living room floor with my older sister and being so effected by the children in the ads. The idea of kids my age not having any books to read saddened me to the point of wanting to help them. I think I remember asking my mother what we could do for them. Little did I know we were on welfare at the time ourselves and I was lucky to have my own books. It’s safe to say that was an indicator of what was to come for me as reader and writer.
As I get ready to attend Camp Mighty next week for the second time, I am looking over my life list to see what I’ve accomplished this year. I’m also adding and deleting a few items and giving it more structure and organization so I can use it as a working document. I also need to decide on my new top five items to work on in 2013. One of the sessions we have during Camp is to share our top five with our group and see if we can help one another accomplish these goals.
Number two on my top five for 2012 was to start a non-profit book donation organization. I wasn’t sure exactly what that would mean in real life, but I did know that there were so many kids, even in my own community, who don’t have access to books on a regular basis. Whenever I discussed this with others, they would always point to the obvious, our new multi-million dollar, high tech, fancy schmancy library here in town. That’s all well and good for those kids who are taken there, but what about the others? The one’s who’s parents work two jobs to make ends meet and don’t have the time or means to get them there?
I also have heard from some that kids get access to books in their schools. Yes, again true, but do you realize how limited the actual reading time is? About fifteen minutes while they are rushing from task to task and session to session? Not enough to make a lasting impact. It’s one of the main reasons Jake and Cole are no longer in the public school. Way too much rushing to finish work and gobbling up of lunches. But that is for another post.
What I am saying is this. Even in well off areas and neighborhoods, there are many kids in need of books in their homes. Having them at their fingertips to browse through while imaging other places, exploring different cultures and learning. It has been proven over and over how important a healthy relationship with reading promotes better grades and more success in a child’s social life (and I don’t mean being popular) and future.
Do you also have this reading gap in your community? If so, what is available to those kids in need of reading materials? Some areas offer books from a reading truck, or bookmobile as it’s officially called and I know a few others hold organized reading groups outside of the standard library classes.
I would love your suggestions or resources you may have for me to get this started. Thanks!
Hmmm, maybe I need to organize a traveling reading group for kids.