Filling LITTLE MINDS...Nourishing Young Brains
We need new workbooks and new/gently used reading books appropriate for babies through high school-age children (Spanish and English languages are both welcome). Recruit friends and family to look around their own homes or support a Little Bellies Book/Workbook Drive!
At Grow Our Kids, our mission is to “nourish young learners by filling the gap” and we know that the “achievement gap” begins to form when children struggle in the classroom from the very start. Access to books is instrumental in a child’s intellectual development and literacy - both before and after they enter Kindergarten.
One of the biggest barriers to childhood literacy (and long-term academic success) is a lack of books at home. When resources are scarce, books become a luxury and for many of these families access to a library is limited or nonexistent. Children learning to read in the classroom can’t continue to develop reading skills when away from school; parents aren’t able to read aloud to their young children which is essential to both educational and emotional growth.
Our Little Minds program is focused on getting developmental work books and reading-level appropriate books home to families participating in our “Little Bellies” programs who have been identified by our school social workers as being in particular need of additional learning resources.
Books are especially important for kiddos in emergency situations and/or children coming from very difficult and often traumatic circumstances who are learning English as new students in our school system. We also include books with any of our Little Hearts Bundles.
With 80% of brain development occurring in the first three years, access to books starting at birth is essential to kindergarten-readiness and long-term school success.
One of the most successful ways to improve the reading achievement of children is to increase their access to books, especially at home (McGill-Franzen & Allington, 2009). But according to the U.S. Department of Education, up to 61% of low-income families do not have any books for their kids at home.
- Little Free Library
Academically, children growing up in homes with no books are on average three years behind children in homes with lots of books.
The achievement gap can be narrowed or even closed simply by giving books to these underserved children.
Kids with access to their own books have significantly higher reading scores than the children without books.*
In low-income neighborhoods, the ratio of books to kids is one for every 300 children.
Multiple studies have shown that ‘high interest in reading’ triples among children who received new books.*
More than 70% of children who receive books report increased reading at home.*
Research shows that reading proficiency by the end of third grade is the most important indicator that a child is on track to graduate from high school on time, and is college and career ready. Sadly, about 80% of low income children) fail to achieve this important milestone.
- Wake Up And Read
We have distributed over 1,000 books so far with many, many more to come thanks to our partners.
*Source: Science Daily, Handbook for Early Literacy, California Child Welfare Co-Investment Partnership, Adolescent Literacy: A National Reading Crisis, Educational Testing Service, National Assessment of Adult Literacy, 15 Minute National Campaign/First Book
2/3rds of children living in poverty do not have books in their home.