The following post is a guest blog from Libby Hastert, an online content writer, and a volunteer, close friend, and supporter of Reach Out and Read Kansas City. To view her original post on her own blog, please click here.
“I grew up with books. Literally sitting on them in the classroom and sleeping on them during naptime. Before I could even read, I had an innate understanding of what books represented.
Teachers had them. Librarians had them. My parents and older sisters had them.
Other things these individuals had? Intelligence and independence. So, naturally, I deduced that reading books equated to power. And I wasn’t too off base. Reading books ushers in an exciting world of possibilities that stems from newfound knowledge — knowledge acquired from reading books.
The funny thing about my obsession with books is how much I struggled with reading at an early age. It wasn’t my missing two front teeth, knocked out on the Jungle Gym, that kept me fumbling over sentences, though. For whatever reason, I was a late bloomer when it came to reading. Fortunately for me, I had parents, teachers, tutors, and older sisters to show me the way, introducing me to the mischievous adventures of “Junie B. Jones” and so many other action-packed titles.
Sadly, we live in a world where many children — our very own Kansas City youth included — don’t have the access to the overabundance of resources I had. In fact, many do not even have books to call their own.
Why Children’s Literacy Matters
According to the National Education Association (NEA), children from families below the poverty line are less likely to experience daily, in-home reading. In another study, the NEA discovered that in-home reading plays an instrumental role in healthy child development and enhanced reading proficiency.
What makes the absence of reading so problematic?
What’s most concerning about this phenomenon, is that the early years of child development have a large impact on the learners children become.
“Children develop much of their capacity for learning in the first three years of life, when their brains grow to 90 percent of their eventual adult weight,” reported the U.S. Department of Education.
As a result, the absence of reading becomes a problem for many kids well before the school years begin. With many children not having access to the basic necessities they need to flourish, promoting literacy through local programs like Reach Out & Read – Kansas City (RORKC) is more important than ever.
Party With a Purpose
As somebody who was fortunate enough to have a collection of books so large it poured off the bookshelves, onto the floor and into my bed, I can appreciate the wonderful efforts RORKC makes annually. And as a proud volunteer, I’ll take a moment to brag.
RORKC annually provides over 72,000 new books for more than 28,000 low-income children who are 0-5 years old. Book donations are issued during well-child visits at our local, partner clinic sites. Children in the program ultimately acquire a 13-book library before entering the education system.
Books & Brews
Fundraising isn’t all bubbly and door prizes. However, twice a year we host events, designed to raise money and awareness about children’s literacy in the Kansas City area. This week, Kansas Citians have the opportunity to party for a purpose at our 3rd annual Books & Brews fundraiser.
Below is the scoop on the upcoming, not-to-be-missed event.
You’ll find lots of book-loving folks who want to drink beer while promoting literacy.
Friday, September 26, 2014, at 5 pm sharp.
The Kansas City Public Library Central Branch. Snacks, libations, and a raffle will be held inside, and a beer garden party, underneath the lights of the Kansas City skyline, will be located on the rooftop.
Party with a purpose. Our third annual Books & Brews event comes complete with an evening of libations, tasty bites, and a fun raffle and door prizes.
Drinking beer is fun, but you can do that any other night of the week. Drinking beer and raising money for children’s literacy is awesome, and it’s something you can only enjoy one night a year.
To attend this evening of entertainment, click the link and make your donation in the form of a ticket purchase”