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The 2019 Central Texas Reading Survey

BookSpring’s 2019 Central Texas Reading Survey offers insight into the state of reading in Central Texas and early literacy efforts in our community. The survey provides valuable information about the reading habits of families in Central Texas, while raising many interesting questions about the state of reading in the region, an understanding of the situation […]

The Zip Code Project

Expanding to Priority Zip Codes It’s great to know that we’ve served over half million children in Central Texas in our history, and that we’re continuing to serve so many high need site partners each year.  But, informed by the research on book deserts, we wondered:  Are there pockets of need that we haven’t yet […]

Summer Reading Enriches Future Academic Success

It is no mystery that summer break can result in an exponential loss of academic skills or the “summer slide.” Research conducted by John Hopkins’ sociology Professor Karl Alexander shows that low-income youth suffer significantly from a loss of academic skills over the summertime. The losses pile up contributing to an achievement gap in their […]

Home Grown Book Lovers

By: Natalia Mirkowicz A common misconception among families is that literacy education starts during the school years. Yet, research shows that starting to read and speak to newborns already begins to impact the way the brain develops and begins to organize language. Many parents prioritize speaking to their infants as much as possible. However, one […]

Horseback riding improves reading skills

By: Nicky and Sam Ellis – Guest Bloggers of Horse Foals Man and horse have shared a strong bond for thousands of years. Horses are very friendly and one of the gentlest animals. Despite their size and height, most horses have an inherently kind temperament. Many specialists from the equestrian discipline and horse owners claim to have […]

BookSpring Recommends Unite for Literacy

Free Digital Books for Children Digital children’s books can be a terrific online addition to a print library, if the e-books are simple (without lots of pop-up distractions) and if they are used to read together as a family. While BookSpring recommends starting with print books for all infants and toddlers, digital and downloadable books […]

Sharing a Vision of 20 Books in All Homes

by Emily Ball Cicchini, Executive Director We here are BookSpring have announced a big audacious goal: to get 20 high quality children’s books in every Central Texas home by 2020. This vision is being driven by social science research that shows a statistically significant correlation between the size of home libraries and children’s future academic […]

Volunteer Spotlight: Kara Hooper

“The heart of a volunteer is not measured in size, but by the depth of the commitment to make a difference in the lives of others.” – Deann Hollis Meet Kara Hooper, who began her volunteer work with BookSpring in July 2018. Kara is an educator currently on sabbatical and spending a year in Austin. […]

Highlights from 2018 The Central Texas Reading Survey

BookSpring’s Central Texas Reading Survey offers intriguing insights into the state of reading in Central Texas, and the implications for early literacy efforts in our community. We launched the assessment to provide you with real-time statistics that measure reading habits among parents and caregivers with children under the age of 12. Low Book Ownership Across Many Incomes Research […]

Summer Success

BookSpring is excited to announce the launch of Summer Success, a new full-scale program designed to address the widespread drop in reading skills that occurs in economically disadvantaged elementary students over the summer. Research has shown that over 80 percent of students from economically disadvantaged communities lose reading skills over the summer. Our results are […]

Readings: Volunteerism and Values

This is a suggested pre-meeting reading for August 15, 2018, noon, at the Austin Public Library Central location.  Free, but please RSVP.  To learn more or register, visit here:  BookSpring Lunch & Learn Overview of Volunteerism in America Over 63 million people in the United States volunteer each year, says the advocacy group the Independent […]

20 Books at Home Significantly Impacts Success

by Christy Anderson The Number of Books at Home Impact a Child’s Educational Success It has long been asserted that parents’ education is the primary factor in predicting the future education level of a child. But in a long-term, worldwide study published in the journal Research in Social Stratification and Mobility, neither parents’ education nor […]

Free Books For Kids

BookSpring recommends that families explore reading together at home online. Digital children’s books can be a terrific online addition to a print library, if the e-books are simple (without lots of pop-up distractions) and if they are used to read together as a family. Our friends at Unite for Literacy have developed a fun and […]

Theory of Change

BookSpring draws from a wide body of research to keep our programs aligned with best practices, proven models, and new discoveries in reading, education, psychology, sociology, and neuroscience. We aim to align all our programs with this basic model.

Resiliency and a Big Anniversary

by Emily Ball Cicchini, Executive Director This photo was taken at a lunchtime summer Go event at one of the Housing Authority of the City of Austin’s community centers. This young girl was so memorable to me, because she was so insistent that I read that one book, a counting book, over and over again. […]

Recognizing Our Board of Directors

As another school year ends so does the service of some outstanding board members. These individuals are deeply committed to sharing their love of reading with Central Texas. Please join us in offering a heartfelt thank you to Beth, Jan, and Jerry for their years of service! Though we are sad to see them go, […]

Austin High takes 20 by 2020 challenge

By: Zachary Krakauer Ganz and Lydia Heisel  In this digital age, some teens might not consider a book drive to be a “novel” idea. But for a group of five sophomores in Austin High School’s Global Studies program, BookSpring’s “20 books by 2020” challenge recently proved to be an inspiring and rewarding experience. Tasked with […]

Wanted: Healthcare Professionals Who Care About Academic Success

By Rachel Elliot, BookSpringRx Director Social science research shows a statistically significant correlation between the size of home libraries and children’s future academic success. According to Unite for Literacy’s book desert map, which analyzes variables including income, ethnicity, geography and languages, at least 70% US households have fewer than 20 children’s books in the home. […]

About the Executive Director

Emily Ball Cicchini Executive Director Emily joined BookSpring in 2015 and is a strong believer in the long-term benefit of early childhood literacy and creativity interventions that encourage intrinsic motivation. She’s seen first-hand the positive impact of children’s exposure to self-selected stories and sensory-rich thematic materials. Emily shares BookSpring’s passion for access to books and […]

Pediatric Literacy Kits

Pediatric Literacy Kits are now available for home visiting programs, dental clinics, mobile clinics, and any healthcare setting! With over 20 years of providing support to the healthcare community, this innovative new service will help doctors and practitioners better engage families in developmental strategies to improve a wide array of health outcomes. “Second to immunizations, […]

New Study on Book Gifting for Babies

By Emily Ball Cicchini, Executive Director The tradition of book gifting has been studied scientifically by researchers in education and healthcare for many years.  Practices include bookmobiles, little free libraries, and other early literacy interventions and social programs at the regional, national, and global levels. We at BookSpring look to this work to inspire and […]

Targeting Summer Slide with New Program

By BookSpringEd Director  Photos by Tyler Schmitt / The Mill Photography BookSpring is excited to announce the launch of Summer Success, a new full-scale program designed to address the widespread drop in reading skills that occurs in economically disadvantaged elementary students over the summer. Research has shown that over 80 percent of students from economically disadvantaged […]

Over the Moon!

At BookSpring, we are just over the moon this fall – even though it’s time for a solar eclipse! (okay, we’re a little out of sync…) We’ve got a collaboration in the works that has brought so many people together and we are truly excited about it! The Girls Scouts pictured, Fiona Randazzo, Lilia Marshal […]

HACA Summer Read Alouds

Macy Wehman, of National Charity League, is pictured reading aloud at the Rosewood Apartment Community Center. Keeping the minds and bodies of families fed is part of the Housing Authority City of Austin’s mission this summer. Through partnerships with the Capital Area Food Bank and BookSpringGo, children and parents- residing at 8 affordable housing locations […]

Parent Book Club Training

BookSpring will host a Parent Book Club training by appointment. The experts at BookSpring have offered Parent Book Clubs for over 15 years. Now, we are bringing our expertise to you. The 3-hour course is led by experienced book club facilitators who will share their best practices. This workshop offers a full curriculum for the […]

New Reading Program Shows Promising Results

BookSpring has just completed preliminary evaluation of the pilot Read For Success program in Central Texas and the results are very encouraging. The program is designed to reduce the summer slide, a phenomenon where children’s academic skills, including reading, decline during the academic year break. According to Reading Is Fundamental in Washington DC, who originally […]

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