Sometimes I am screaming internally with frustration while helping my 6 year old son with his home reader book – I mean, he sounds out a word on one page (laboriously and over 30 long seconds) but for some reason it looks completely foreign to him when it appears on the next new page! But I shouldn’t complain, we have access to books and teachers who have the patience to teach our children to read.
My first little ‘shout out loud’ is an easy one for everyone to get behind as it is free and you can support it before you even finish reading this blog.
It is an initiative called “We Give Books” created by the Penguin Group and the Pearson Foundation. Pearson plc is a major international media company, the Pearson Foundation is its philanthropic arm.
The concept is just so simple, We Give Books provides free online access to a range of childrens books, many fiction but some non fiction too. Once you have read the book online We Give Books will donate a brand new children’s book to a ‘non-profit literacy partner’ who then uses the books in programs they are running for children who don’t have access to many books (and generally could not afford them even if they did). The books donated are ones identified by the literacy partners as complementary and consistent to the programs that they are running in each region.
The benefits of an initiative such as this are obvious: we foster a love of books and reading in our kids (and prove that the internet has a use other than online games and you tube!) and teach our kids the power of giving, while at the same time giving less fortunate children all around the world the opportunity to access an education which could change their lives.
At the moment the two ‘non profit literacy partners’ are World Vision and Support My School India. We Give Books wants to donate 50,000 books to each of these organisations. So far they are at about 35,000. Once that target is reached We Give Books will partner with another non-profit literacy partner to provide books to even more children.
All you need to do is go to http://www.wegivebooks.org, sign in, pick a campaign and start reading! The books are aimed at children from 0 to about 8 years and are very easy to read on the screen. My only gripe is that it doesn’t yet have an ipad app – but if all I have to do is sit at the computer with my son for 5 minutes to give a book to another child (who may be sitting on a dirt floor), then I’m not complaining!
So – off you go – log on, read a book and give a book!