On a recent Thursday at Elizabeth Baldwin Elementary in Pawtucket, some 150 students made their way through an open classroom, each carefully picking out two books, and having personalized bookplates put in their selections. Students then heard a reading of “This is How We Do It,” by Matt Lamothe about how kids around the world go about their day.
On this day, these students were delighted about the opportunity to receive and read their new books, and the space was abuzz with excitement as each child carefully made their book selections. Jeviani shared that she “was excited about today because I get bring a book home. I love reading!” The other students echoed her sentiment. A big grin on his face, holding his new books, Malik shared that he had been looking forward to the Books Are Wings program because “I want more books at home. I’m excited to read to my family.”
While her students listened to BAW volunteer Marti read Lamothe’s book, Kathleen Bibeault, a Kindergarten teacher at Baldwin, shared why she is so grateful that programs like Books All Year come into her school: “A lot of my students don’t have books at home and Books Are Wings programs help them to build a library and expose them to characters and concepts that we learn about at school. Having access to new books helps my students to continue learning outside of school. Last week, we were learning about whales and then with this program, my students got books about whales. I also love having books in Spanish available so that they go home and read books with their parents who only speak Spanish. It’s a selfless organization that works to get books and put them in the hands of kids who wouldn’t normally get them.”
Beyond the impact that was evident in listening to students and educators speak about their experience in BAW school programs, volunteers are equally touched by the work of helping to build the libraries of children. Cindy Pierce has been volunteering on and off for a few years with Books Are Wings and was excited to share her love of working with young readers: “Literacy is one of the most basic and amazing things that you can offer kids. I want to be a part of that. There are so many books that need to go around and I want to get good books in the right hands, especially with how many kids don’t have books readily available to them. I think we’re supporting a basic skill, and helping them understand how to move through the world, because reading is such a fundamental part of everyday life.”
As we approach the season of giving, the faces and words of these volunteers, educators and children support us in asking you to fund our critical work. The mission of Books Are Wings is to put FREE books in the hands of children, and this past year we have continued to do that on a large scale: distributing 76,899 books around Rhode Island. We need your support in giving this gift of literacy for years to come. Join us in our 6th Annual Gift of Literacy Campaign, and support us in building libraries and molding futures.
Learn more about you can get involved with the campaign here:
Purchase tickets for our Gift of Literacy Campaign Kickoff Reception on November 21st here: