When basic needs go unfulfilled, our fellow citizens – particularly children – are left vulnerable. But a child’s well-being goes far beyond whether they are adequately clothed, fed, and housed. During this season of giving, what are the essentials that may be overlooked, and what can you do to help?
When children fail to acquire literacy in time to keep up in school, they fall behind – measurably and persistently. Children who cannot read at grade level lack access to better opportunities in health, education, and the economy later in life. Vast systemic disparities in education disproportionately compound these effects on children of color and children living in poverty.
Our collective future rests on our ability to equip ALL children to reach their potential and fully participate in society. Literacy is essential to our economy, our democracy, and the creation of a more equitable society. It is not a privilege, but a right.
Early literacy programs are the most effective tool we have to improve overall educational achievement, and access to books is key to the success of these programs. But according to the U.S. Department of Education, up to 61% of low-income families do not have any books for their kids at home.
One way that LINC works to empower families with young children in the fight against illiteracy is to help them build home libraries. Latoya Walker and her son, 3-year-old Kaiden Swaby, attended a LINC book distribution event earlier this year in Jamaica, Queens. Latoya shared that it is not easy to keep her son, who has special needs, entertained. But she recently introduced a story time routine where she reads to Kaiden for at least 15 minutes a day. “Reading is magic,” is how she summarized the impact of having books in her home. “Kaiden is thriving.”
Access to books during early childhood has an immediate and long-term effect on vocabulary, background knowledge, and comprehension. The presence of books in the home is a strong predictor of reading achievement. Books are a basic need that too often goes unmet.
Literacy is as vital to a child’s well-being now as it is to their future – and to the future of our nation as a whole. Equal access to quality early childhood education and books is a crucial and attainable method of combating illiteracy and achieving educational justice.
You can make a difference. A gift to LINC is the gift of literacy to children like Kaiden. Please help us give a lifelong love of reading to children and families across New York City by making a generous donation to LINC today.
With immense gratitude,
P.S. Click here to make your meaningful gift today! If you prefer to mail your gift, send a check made to: Literacy Inc. at PO Box 822, Katonah, NY, 10536.
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