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Spoonfuls of Stories—How Cheerios Is Helping Get Books to Families

giving backmy world

Cheerios_Spoonfuls of Stories_General Mills_Family_reading_Childrens Literature For the past 8 years, Cheerios has been helping parents make reading with their child part of their daily routine. They do this by helping to get great children’s books into kids’ hands, and encouraging families to read together, by distributing popular and award-winning books free inside boxes of Cheerios.

Starting this month, Cheerios is again distributing 6 million children’s books inside boxes. The books, which Cheerios had specially printed in both English and Spanish, are five different titles from Simon & Schuster Children’s Publishing. There is a cut-out window on the front of the box so you can see which book is inside and select the book you want. In addition, Cheerios is also making a financial donation to the nonprofit organization, First Book, to help get brand new books to children from low-income families—many of whom have no age-appropriate books for their children in their home. Over the past 8 years, Cheerios has distributed more than 40 million books free inside boxes and donated $3.2 million to First Book.

The Story About Kids and Reading in the U.S.

Here are some statistics about  kids and reading:

  • Children whose parents read to them tend to become better readers and perform better in school.
  • Across the nation just under half of children between birth and five years (47.8%) are read to every day by their parents or other family members.
  • Dr. Marilyn Adams (Beginning to Read) points out that a child with 15 minutes of read-aloud time each day from six months to six years benefits from 500 hours of “reading” exposure, three times what a first grade teacher can provide with an hour of reading instruction each day.
  • 41% of fourth grade boys, and 35% of fourth grade girls read below the basic level, and in low-income urban schools this figure approaches 70%.
  • For America's poorest children, the biggest obstacle to literacy may be the scarcity of books and appropriate reading material. In fact, in a recent study of low-income neighborhoods, there was only 1 age-appropriate book for every 300 children.

Why Is Cheerios Doing This?

Reading with your child can be the quiet moment in the day that you and your child both look forward to the most: the opportunity to snuggle together and explore the pages of a great book. Just as important as the bonding time that reading together provides, studies continue to show that read-aloud time is important to children’s reading development. Yet, for many families, books can be expensive or are not readily available. Cheerios is committed to helping parents provide their children with a healthy, nutritional, and educational foundation. They believe good nutrition and mental development work better together. With just 1 gram of sugar and 100% natural whole grain oats, Cheerios already is a staple in many households; it’s also the first finger food for many children. Through this program, Cheerios is using its place at the family breakfast table to help make books more accessible to families, both with books inside boxes, and through the annual donation to First Book.

What You Can Do?

To help get more books to kids and make reading a priority, you can:

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An active part of the Mom It Forward team, Jyl primarily writes about parenting, social good, and all things travel related. In a past life, Jyl was an award-winning copywriter and designer of corporate training programs for Fortune 100 companies. Offline, Jyl is married to @TroyPattee; a mom to two teen boys and a beagle named #Hashtag; loves large amounts of cheese, dancing, and traveling; and lives in the beautiful Rocky Mountains. Topping her bucket list is the goal to visit 50 countries by the time she's 50.


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