One question that’s top of mind to everyone who has a child in school or works in a school is: What do we need to be doing right now to help kids make it through this challenging time?
Our friends at First Book, a national non-profit clearinghouse for books for literacy programs like ours, recently released a survey that answers that very question. To help legislators at the federal, state, and county-level decide what to do with the large influx of one-time funding expected to come in through the American Rescue Plan (ARP), they found that the top three priorities, according to educators, are:
1). Books and learning materials
2). Student mental health support resources
3). Additional staff
Moreover, over 99% of the 2000 educators surveyed said that books should be among the priorities for ARP funding.
Ample research supports that reading books can support social-emotional development, empathy, and overall wellness. It’s just common sense that reading, both as a solo act and being read to by a trusted adult, can help alleviate the loneliness and isolation we are experiencing through this crisis.
Plus, a well-told story is a welcome and healthy distraction from the pressures of coping with the pandemic and economic uncertainty. If a child has books when quarantined, they have a chance to use this time constructively, instead of only playing games or watching television. If well enough, a balance of activities, including reading and going outside, can help keep hearts and spirits up and minds expanding despite adversity.
Our goals for 2021-2022
This robust finding of the priorities of educators for books being among the top things that kids need today strongly supports BookSpring’s mission. It provides us with even more urgency in getting a steady stream of the right books to the rights kids…right now.
Despite current uncertainty this fall, BookSpring is ready to serve through Books for Me, BookSpring Direct, Open Book, ReadWell, and Weekly Themes. We are aiming to get 180,000 books out between now and June 30, 2022. So please, tell the families, doctors, and educators you know that we’re here and ready to help with the gift of beautiful, fun, engaging books.
And, if you can spare some time or some dollars, read about our Volunteer opportunities and consider a Monthly Donation to help us continue this work. Every $10 you give will send home three books to kids at home directly through the mail.
You can read more about the First Book study Voice of America’s Educators Teaching Children Living in Poverty by clicking here.
Written by: Emily Ball Cicchini, Executive Director