Millions of children in the US do not have access to books in their homes. They don’t get the experience of sitting on a parent’s lap, or snuggling in bed with their very own book, and being read to. Books can be very expensive, and for families living in poverty, books may not be a high priority. And although we do have libraries, for some families, there’s just no time.
Children who are read to from infancy up to kindergarten are developmentally ahead of children who are not exposed to books and reading. They are not prepared for kindergarten. Their language skills are poor. Their literacy skills — storytelling, comprehension, vocabulary, phonics — may be non-existent.
So when one of our staff forwarded an email from Palmetto Project about their new initiative, My First Books, we jumped at the opportunity to participate. Over the next two months, we collected over $200 from our Jeans program — enough to provide a year’s worth of books for 5 children in the Midlands.
How does it work?
Palmetto Project partnered with the Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library to create the My First Books initiative. A team of reading specialists selects developmentally appropriate books for children ages newborn through five. Families who register their children will receive in the mail one book a month until that child enters kindergarten. For more information about the project, visit myfirstbooks.palmettoproject.org.