Nearly 80% of Medicaid-eligible kids are not ready for kindergarten. Book Harvest is a visionary group with a plan to change that statistic by providing families in Durham with valuable tools for student success: books.
As Book Harvest celebrates its third anniversary, here are their three signature programs that ensure children own a sufficient quantity of books at critical educational times.
First, “Book Babies” provides newborns ten new books at birth, followed by an additional ten books every six months before they enter school, for a total of 120 new books for each Medicaid-eligible child by kindergarten! Book Harvest empowers parents with engaging, age-appropriate books and strategies for encouraging vocabulary and literacy skills known to lag in low-income homes.
Second, “Books On Break” gives school-aged kids a backpack and the power to choose and own ten books to prevent the well-documented ‘summer slide’ in skills. Self-selection and ownership of books ensure that kids return to school in the fall with reading skills intact thanks to the motivating and personalized literacy tools they enjoy during summer break.
Third, “Community Book Bank” collects and distributes gently-used books to groups working with children in need. Twenty-one community agencies including health clinics, Urban Ministries, tutoring and enrichment centers, afterschool groups, interfaith council, and ESL groups, contract with Book Harvest to provide kids with unlimited self-selected books. The partners distribute over 1200 books per week.
The Book Harvest office on Durham-Chapel Hill Boulevard is inspiring to visit. Books for adults are free for the taking, volunteers and interns sort, clean, and label books, and visitors are given every opportunity to get involved. Through recruiting and empowering a broad base of volunteer community groups, individuals, and children, Book Harvest is sure to reach its goal of having numerous books in every home in Durham within 5 years.
Learn more about this fantastic organization at http://bookharvestnc.org/