Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Vending Machines and Free Books: What a Deal, Kids!

In terms of children and books available to them, how bad does it have to get for a neighborhood to be considered a "reading desert?" Well, according to the Soar with Reading project, the much of Washington D.C. qualifies for that rather dubious honor:
Back in 2001, a study found that in underserved communities, there was only one age-appropriate book available for every 300 kids. After commissioning a study by a childhood literacy expert to look into that, they learned the situation today was even more dire.
"[I]n the shadow of our nation's capital, in 2015, there is access to only one-age appropriate book for every 830 children," the website notes. And that's what the company is calling a book desert.
But hang on because the Soar with Reading folks have decided to do something about these awful numbers.  The group has placed three of their free books vending machines in the neighborhood, machines that allow kids to punch a few buttons and walk away with as many free books as they want.  
'Cause here's the thing: You can't read without having something to read! And giving kids' access to books is the first step to opening up their minds to the possibilities of reading.  
It surely can't hurt.

The machines and 100,000 children's books, by the way, were donated to the program by Jet Blue airline.

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