On Day 9 of our 12 Days of Giving, we have a very easy way for you to give back: read aloud to a young child. Early literacy is a crucial part of a child’s development. It enhances vocabulary, builds important communication skills, and gives them the tools they need to be successful in school and in life. Reading aloud is the single most important thing you can do to help a child prepare for reading and learning on their own. It is one of the best activities to stimulate language and cognitive skills, and it also builds motivation, curiosity, and memory, and forms bonds between adults and children.
But many children from low-income homes are exposed to very little reading before entering school, and many don’t have access to age-appropriate books that they can call their own. Studies have found that by age four, children in middle and upper income families hear 30 million more words than their lower income peers, and more than a third of children arrive at kindergarten without the skills necessary to be successful. It’s easy to see how the achievement gap is evident long before children start school, and children who aren’t reading proficiently by the end of third grade are four times more likely to drop out of high school.
How can you help? We are in the middle of our 10th Annual Barnes & Noble Holiday Book Drive, and we need more books! When you purchase books for young children at the Barnes & Noble Southpoint location before December 31st, we collect them and distribute them to organizations serving young children throughout Durham County. During last year’s book drive, 2,700 books were distributed to young children who would not typically have books in their homes, and we hope to share the gift of literacy with even more children this year!
You can also get involved by becoming a Readers as Leaders volunteers. Our volunteers are matched with a child care center in Durham to read to groups of young children during the fall and/or spring session. The upcoming spring session is March-June, and we need your help to inspire a love of learning for more young children in Durham.
Please give back today by purchasing books for our Holiday Book Drive and volunteering. And remember, when you make a donation, your gift supports all of our other efforts to enhance early literacy in Durham!