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Every Monday Matters: "Are You Really Going to Read Them Again?"

02/27/2009 05:12 am 05:12:01 | Updated Nov 17, 2011

DONATE BOOKS

Facts:

61% of low-income families have no books in their homes.

43% of adults with the lowest level of literacy proficiency live in poverty.

Only 4% of adults with strong literacy skills live in poverty.

55% of children have an increased interest in reading when given books at an early age.

Children with a greater variety of reading material in the home are more creative, imaginative, and proficient in reading. They are also on a better path toward educational growth and development.

There is only 1 age-appropriate book for every 300 children in low-income neighborhoods compared to 13 books per child in middle-income neighborhoods.

Take Action Today

1. Go through your bookshelves and pull out books that you will never read again or have owned for more than 2 years and haven't read yet.

2. Pack the books in a box.

3. Call your local library, school, foster home, or children's organization to see if they need books.

4. Deliver the books.

5. If you don't have any books at home, purchase some to donate or find an organization that accepts financial donations and will purchase books and deliver them where they are needed.

The majority of children in low-income neighborhoods often lack libraries and bookstores. Having access to books is the key to literacy. By donating your books, especially children's books, you can impact some of the 12 million children who don't have books at home. Imagine if you couldn't read this column.

You Matter
Robbie Miller of Charlotte, North Carolina, read something that shocked him. The copy read: "55 million adult Americans are limited to a 4th or 5th grade reading level or can only recognize a few printed words." As an eighth-grader, Robbie couldn't understand how so many people older than him couldn't read as well as he could.

"Not only was I surprised, but it made me sad," shared Robbie. "I love to read, and I spend a lot of time doing it. It is how I learn about so many different things."

This realization started Robbie on a mission. He was determined to understand why and how this was possible. And it didn't take long for Robbie to learn a few basic facts about illiteracy...many of which are stated above. The question became -- how was he going to help change this. And clearly he found an answer.

"I decided to start a book drive at my school," explained Robbie. "One of the things I learned is that a lot of kids don't have access to books and that is why they become illiterate adults. So I wanted to try to gather as many books as I could and then donate them to people who needed them."

Robbie created a campaign. It was called: "Just One Book." His week-long campaign called for every student at his school to donate one book. He set up a drop-off box in the library and made flyers that he handed out to all of the students.

"I didn't know if it was going to work, but I figured, if I even got 10 books, it was better than nothing," admitted Robbie.

Well, the proof was the pudding and 10 books proved to not be much of a problem. In his week-long campaign, Robbie collected 484 books.

"Once I had all of the books, I then had to figure out what to do with them, but that turned out to be the easiest part," shared Robbie. "I found a small community library, in a poor neighborhood. They had a major shortage on books and no variety whatsoever."

With the help of some fellow students and his mom, Robbie packed up the books and delivered them to the library. The head librarian was over-taken with emotion and reassured Robbie of the dramatic difference these books were going to make in the community.

And it all started with "Just One Book." I guess we just have to be grateful that Robbie was able to read that initial "inspiring" statistic.

Please visit EveryMondayMatters.com to buy the book, get involved, book a speaking engagement/event, and share your stories about making a difference in the world. You matter.