Cheerios Spoonful of Stories Nourishes Mind and Body
The people at the Scholastic school book publishing company love me, I'm sure, because I order so many books through them. The librarians at our local library know me by name, I'm there frequently enough. I am determined that my children shall not want for books. I dream of the day when they, full-grown, will have the same passion for reading that I do.
So when I saw a box of Cheerios in the store with a book inside, I bought it. It was a no-brainer: I got something that nourishes both my sons' bodies and their minds, for the price of a box of cereal. That is, come to find out, the thinking behind Cheerios Spoonful of Stories program, to make it easy for children to get their hands on books. The whole project involves providing five books, determined through a rigorous and interactive selection process (including a contest for new authors to get original content), and providing the books free in specially-marked boxes of regular Cheerios starting in the month of November. Since 2001, when the program started, Cheerios has given away more than 50 million books that way.
It's all part of Cheerios' manufacturer General Mills' ongoing commitment to nurturing the whole child and connecting families by fostering a shared love of reading. This year alone, they will be providing 6 million books on-package. Cheerios themselves conducted a study of moms of children ages two to six about the role reading plays in their daily lives. The survey found that although today’s moms are prioritizing reading—67 percent read to their child at least once a day—nearly two-thirds (61 percent) say “busy schedules” prevent them from spending more time reading. The survey also examined moms’ perceptions of one of the greatest barriers to literacy today—lack of access to books.
In fact, the study showed that while in middle income neighborhoods the ratio of books per child is 13 to 1, in low-income neighborhoods, the ratio is one age-appropriate book for every 300 children. That's why Cheerios has also donated more than $3.5 million to First Book, a children's literacy non-profit that provides children from low-income families the opportunity to own their first new books. And, to celebrate the launch of the Cheerios® Facebook Fan Page, they teamed up with First Book to launch the Cheerios® 6 Million Minute Read-A-Thon. The Challenge called upon individuals to pledge to read with their children 15 minutes each day. By reaching the goal of 6 million minutes pledged, Cheerios fans on Facebook generated the donation of 250,000 new books to children in need. The books were distributed in partnership with First Book and Feeding America in fall 2010.
“Parents play a key role in helping their children become readers," says Meredith Tutterow, Cheerios marketing manager. They're hoping that by providing books in their cereal boxes, parents will take advantage of the opportunity to take a few short minutes over breakfast together to read with their children. I have all five of these books now, and have enjoyed read them with my son: No T Rex in the Library by Tony Buzzeo, All the World by Liz Garton Scanlon, Jump! by Scott M. Fischer, Purple Kangaroo by Michael Ian Black, and Chaucer's First Winter by Stephen Krensky.
What do you do to make time to read with your children?