“Give a Book, Make a Reader, and Change the World”
Debra Cen & Sasha Madison
BooksPlus Committee of Palo Alto University Rotary Club (PAUR) promotes early childhood literacy amongst Pre-K through 3rd grade students in under-resourced communities of District 5170, using evidence-based strategies.
Our mission is “Give a Book, Make a Reader, and Change the World.” Reading is the portal to all educational progress and “practice makes perfect” in reading. Students must have books to practice and to be proficient readers at their grade level.
When children select reading materials themselves and read for enjoyment, they receive the most gains in reading achievement, including better reading comprehension, writing style, vocabulary, spelling, and grammatical development.
- Only 35% of 4th graders in the US read at or above a “proficient” level. In California, only 32% of 4th graders can do so. 
- Analysis of 100,000 US school children found that access to books made a difference in levels of reading proficiency. 
- Having as few as 20 books in the home has a significant impact on propelling a child to a higher level of education. 
- Low-income children have limited access to books.
- 61% of children in low-income neighborhoods have NO books at home .
- There is 1 book per 300 children in low-income neighborhoods 
- National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP), 2019
- McQuillan, J. The Literacy Crisis: False Claims, Real Solutions. Portsmouth, NH: Heinemann, 1996
- Evans, M., Kelley, J., Sikora, J., Treiman, D. Family Scholarly Culture and Educational Success: Books
and Schooling in 27 Nations. Research in Social Stratification and Mobility, 2010
- Literacy in the United States: Findings from the IEA Reading Literacy Study, 1996
- Neuman, S. and D. Dickinson, ed. Handbook of Early Literacy Research, Volume 2. New York, NY:
2006, p. 31
WHAT WE DO
We distribute age-appropriate, high-quality, curated, and self- selected books to children. Books of interest get read! We support the access to books through partnerships with schools, after- school-programs, and community-based family resource centers. We partner with literacy foundations and other like-minded corporate entities.
Our primary nonprofit partner, Bring Me A Book Foundation (BMAB), acts as a catalyst to provide infrastructure and funding sources for our book access programs. We pride ourselves on our carefully selected and efficiently purchased books, with the able guidance from the BMAB team.
BOOK ACCESS PROJECT
Books of interest and choice are made available through our Access Partners.
Volunteers build the cubbies provided by BMAB. Students and parents decorate these cubbies, at special events, together for their home library.
SPEAKER APPRECIATION PROGRAM
Children’s books are signed by the weekly guest speakers and donated to a partnering school.
Volunteers visit classrooms, with a popular book for their library, and through interactive exchange, model reading aloud and extend learning.
Volunteers help the students with reading, vocabulary, and comprehension, bi-weekly.
COVID-19 SPECIAL PROJECT
We partner with Bookelicious and Bring Me A Book Foundation to offer children personalized book choices, while helping teachers track progress.
- Pre-K through 3rd grade students, in under-resourced communities of District 5170, get access to books and other resources that can help them read better.
- Club members get opportunities to volunteer and contribute towards this worthy cause.
- Our committee learns and adopts best practices which can then be shared with the larger Rotary community
HOW TO GET INVOLVED
If you are interested in improving literacy (reading) in an under- resourced community, and are a:
Please reach out to learn about the opportunities.
We can share our practices and lessons learned. We may also partner together to bring books to the students in an under- resourced community near you.
A Title One School or an After-School Program
If you work with Pre-K through 3rd grade students in our community, we can explore opportunities to help with the reading skills.
A Corporate Organization interested in promoting Literacy
We can provide volunteering and collaboration opportunities.