To support distance learning efforts, Books Are Wings created the Book Bag Project, a project that was able to serve the entire state community when Governor Raimondo announced the April Reading Challenge: #rireadsathome. Executive Director Jocelynn White conceived of the Book Bag Project as a way to stay connected with students and their families while the organization’s regular programming is suspended, and in the process, a new way for Books Are Wings to support the community has emerged.
Books Are Wings works with students around the state of Rhode Island, with a focus on communities where children often do not have their own books at home. BAW aims to close the literacy gap by providing students free age appropriate books that they select themselves. While all students may be out of school in our state, Books Are Wings seeks to keep kids reading by providing families with reading materials when they need them most. The Book Bag Project is a new way for BAW to reach these communities.
Everything is packed and sealed for 72 hours before they get to families and partners. Students will safely receive these materials with other distance learning supplies through contactless pickup at meal sites or through their schools.
When the April Reading Challenge wrapped up, almost 22,000 students recording their reading, with more than 1,076,000 minutes logged. The April Reading Challenge was started by the office of Governor Raimondo and RIDE as way to support families as they began their distance learning journey. In partnership with Rhode Island Center for the Book and Reach Out and Read RI, we’ve been able to access many of those 22,000 students and are working hard to ensure that we can reach even more during the end of school year and summer months.
Throughout March, April and now into May, we have supported thousands of learners and their families by providing access to books, safely. To date, we have distributed 5,766 Book Bags or 12,632 books to 19 school departments and community organizations across the state.
We are so grateful for the partnership of CCAP in Woonsocket, Southside Elementary Charter School, RI School for the Deaf, Bristol Warren SD, Connecting for Children and Families, Central Falls SD, Segue Institute for Learning, Westerly SD, Coventry SD, Providence SD, Pawtucket SD, North Providence SD, Inspiring Minds, The Genesis Center, Providence Promise and all of the teams who work to staff, organize and support families at Providence meal sites.
If you would like to support our project, please visit our information page here.