Appalachian Literacy Initiative
A child who learns to read proficiently has a great advantage over one that does not. If children lack access to books, they do not learn to read as well.
Sounds obvious, doesn’t it? It’s substantiated by a lot of current research: underprivileged children need more access to books than they currently have.
We live in Appalachia, a beautiful part of the country with a history of entrenched poverty. There are small rural schools here without libraries. Towns without libraries. Children who grow up without ever owning a book of their own.
We are changing that. We want to break this cycle.
Studies show that 83% of low-income students do not read at proficient level by the end of third grade. If they don’t reach proficiency by the end of fourth grade, they are four times more likely than their proficient classmates to drop out of high school. Under-privileged children lack access to books.
Library access is often limited or unreachable in rural communities. Researchers concluded that 61% of low-income students have no books at all in their own homes. Studies show that increasing access to books increases reading levels and decreases high school dropout rates.
With our flagship program, teachers receive a classroom set of books four times a year. The students then get to choose a book from those selections to add to their personal collection at home. At the end of the school year, teachers will have added 32 books to their classroom libraries and students will add 4 books to their personal collection at home.