Guest post by Rebecca Erickson – Founder of Read To Me
Believing that we all learn the love of learning from those we love, and realizing that more children needed to benefit from such love, in January of 2009, I founded the non-profit organization, READ TO ME.
As a new teacher in Denver Public Schools during 2001, I went through a life–altering experience while teaching at-risk children. I found myself in front of a classroom of students who were 2 to 3 levels behind in their reading and writing skills. These were the students who misbehaved out of frustration because they could not keep up with basic, grade–appropriate material. These children were growing up in high–stress homes and many, if not all, were living in poverty.
It comes as no surprise when the U.S. Department of Education reports that 61% of low-income families have no children’s books in their home. I knew growing up and then having my own family, how crucially important it was for a parent to establish the early practice of reading to a child. For a mother and a newborn infant, the bonding of voice and body ensures healthy development, emotionally and mentally.
The research is strong. Young children who are read to regularly by their parents develop better literacy skills, become better readers when they reach elementary school, and are more likely to succeed in school. Reading to young children helps to develop imagination, creativity, vocabulary, and early literacy skills. Children who are read to on a regular basis and who have books in the home are more likely to enjoy books and to read on their own.
READ TO ME provides book bundles to the new mothers before they are discharged from the hospital and the message is supported through the medical provider, a much respected source to the new mother. The READ TO ME book bundle includes a new, developmentally appropriate book, a READ TO ME re-usable tote bag, a hat, blanket, or teddy bear and a special note furthering the message on the importance of sharing the joy of books and reading with their newborn baby.
I’m excited to announce that READ TO ME has distributed over 10,000 books to low-income children since our inception. YOU CAN HELP! We’re partnering with Chick-fil-a Castle Rock for a Back to School Book Drive. August 28th – September 1st, bring in a new book to the restaurant and receive a FREE kid’s meal. The books collected will go directly back to our Castle Rock community and given to low-income pregnant mothers via Castle Rock Adventist Hospital Mommy & Me Market.
We can’t do what we do without the generosity of our community! But we also know that many of our readers are not in the Castle Rock area so you can also check out our website where you can find ways to: sign up for our newsletter, like us on Facebook, make a donation, and learn more about our mission, etc.
We’d be so grateful for your support!