Food or books- which would you pick for your child? The parents of over 44,800 children in Rhode Island are forced to make choices like this every day. Without a doubt, a parent would provide immediate essentials while educational items like books fall to the bottom of the list. This is a problem because a child’s access to and ownership of books is essential for the development of literacy skills. Poor children who fail to read proficiently by third grade are six times more likely to not graduate high school (Annie E. Casey Foundation). In RI, 75% of economically disadvantaged third graders are reading below grade-level and approximately 60% have no age appropriate books in their home. Book ownership is a key component to changing these statistics. According to the National Literacy Trust, 92% of children who own their own books read at or above grade level expectations.
Books Are Wings is the only organization in RI who meets this need by putting free books in the hands of children from birth to middle school. We will put 40,000 books into children’s hands during the 2016-2017 school year through school and early learning book parties, community distribution events and summer programs