Reading Is Fundamental: 4 Ways to Promote Literacy in Your Community

my worldraising giving children

If you were stranded on a desert island and could only have 10 books with you, which ones would you choose and why?

This is a question my grandma and I discussed over the years.  The amazing thing? It never occurred to us that we wouldn’t be able to have books with us.

When you grow up surrounded by literature, it’s nearly impossible to imagine not having easy access to books. I come from a long line of reading enthusiasts, so I was a little shocked to learn that:

Two-thirds of America’s children living in poverty have no books at home, and the number of families living in poverty is on the rise. Many public and school libraries are being forced to close or reduce their operating hours.

Two thirds? I immediately wondered: "What can I do to help?" My response? Identify a cause and get my whole family involved.

One great way to raise giving children is to involve them in your charitable outreaches. Even just talking to them about causes you’re involved in goes a long way in helping them catch the spirit of service. With my newfound knowledge of the literacy dilemma, I whole heartedly said yes to an opportunity to partner with Nestle Family in support of Reading Is Fundamental.

I coupled this partnership with my monthly book club and everyone came bearing donations of children's books. Nestle provided the food and drink and Reading Is Fundamental donated $350 in books to the local charity of our choice. It was a feel good night that ended with me sharing with my two boys the importance of literacy, the donations we had received, and the plans to make a trip in the next few weeks to deliver the books to children who didn't have access to many.

Four Ways to Involve Your Kids in Increasing Literacy in Your Community

Reading Is Fundamental shares great tips for helping your kids love to read, which is the first step in getting them to go out into the community and promote literacy. The list below identifies four ways to involve your kids in promoting literacy in your community.

1. Participate in community story time events. Libraries offer weekly story times for children of all ages. Combine story time with charity by getting your kids involved in the process of donating books to your local library.

2. Have your high-school children mentor younger students in reading. Many charitable organizations require child volunteers to be over a certain age. If you have teens or high-school-aged children, reward them for volunteering their time to read aloud or help younger students learn to read.

3. Give the gift of books. During the holidays, many families don't have enough money to purchase gifts and community organizations make it easy to match you with families you can help. Take your children shopping with you and purchase their favorite books and give them as gifts for families in need.

4. Adopt a family in your neighborhood/community. Be on the look out for a family less fortunate than yours and leave a box of goodies—books!—on their doorstep. Add an element of fun by doing this around a holiday and adding in some books that relate to that time of year.

Now think of the books you chose to take with you on your desert island. If you could only give one of the 10 to someone who didn't have access to books, which one would you most like to share and why?
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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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