One of our new programs at the Literacy Coalition is called Reading Rabbits. The purpose of the program is to have children ready to read by the time they enter kindergarten. It is a little different from programs such as Dolly Parton’s imagination library. Here are a few of the differences and our reasoning.
• We concentrate on furnishing books to families where the cost is likely to be a barrier. Most of our books go to families earning below 150% of the federal poverty level. This allows us to concentrate our resources and efforts where it can have the most impact.
• We have the parents/caregivers sign contracts promising to read the books to their children each month. They are asked to send us selfies each month showing they actually are completing that part of the agreement.
• We work through partner agencies to pass the books out to the children. Our experience with people starting out and with low incomes is they often move. By working through partners such as Head Start, Early Head Start, Bona Vista’s Keys for Kids, the Pregnancy resource Center, and the Villages we can see that the books are all distributed directly to the families enrolled.
• We looked at data on foster children and decided to furnish those children books regardless of the fostering parent’s income. That led to our recent partnership with the Villages.
Our program began with a grant from the Howard County Community Foundation and has received ongoing support from the Center Township Trustee, and a foundation called Believe in Reading. In the first nine months of 2018, we have passed out over $22,000 worth of children’s books.
We work almost every day with adults who are struggling to read. Our hope is that by providing a free book every month to children between ages 0-5 we can reduce the number of young people who later drop out and end up enrolling in our program.
If you would like to be a financial supporter of the program please hit the donate button.