Imagine not having access to books, and your children or grandchildren not having any books at home. How can that even be possible? I will tell you. Because many parents have to choose feeding their children over a luxury like a book. Hard to imagine yes, but reality for millions of children.
Millions of impoverished youth have no access to books at home, which is a key contributor to the repetitive cycle of educational disadvantage. Code Read sees this first hand every time we hand a free book to child. It is common for children to say, “I don’t have any books in my foster home,” others repeatedly ask if the books they will take home are really theirs “to keep forever and ever.”
Code Read’s sole purpose is providing children in need with new books they can call their own. In 2019-2020, we will continue to work with low income elementary schools as well as Children’s Bureau Los Angeles, LA Family Housing and the Department of Children and Family Services. We will provide intriguing, age appropriate print materials to 4,000 children in Title 1 elementary schools, transitional housing and foster homes in order to increase their literacy skills and desire to read.
Thousands of smiles, hugs and thank you cards tell us we are making a difference and motivate us to want to do more. We have embarked on a new capital campaign to raise funds to purchase a Code Read Bookmobile. This is a unique campaign because while there are a few library bookmobiles in southern California, we are unaware of any bookmobiles that offer low income youth free books for ownership. The thought of pulling up to a foster care event or a family housing complex in our Bookmobile and watching children run to get free books, like it’s the ice-cream man, is so exciting.
Research has shown that increasing access to books and giving children the opportunity to chose what they read boosts literacy levels, bridges the gap between privileged youth and low income youth, and improves attitudes toward reading and learning.