The importance of reading is often taken for granted in today’s society. Many children who don’t get the opportunity to read due to low income face the challenges of keeping up with school work. The goal of this paper is to present a plan for a book drive for Lincoln Middle School, a low income middle school in Gainesville, Fl. A problem that many schools may have is trying to find the money to provide books that the kids will be excited about instead of boring textbooks or old books that are falling apart.
This book drive will help to increase the literacy rates of children who are struggling in school. A book drive can help to motivate children to read more and introduce them to how fun reading can be. Our goal is to get children on the right track to help them succeed later in life. By introducing children to reading and its importance now, it reduces the risk of them dropping out of school and ending up unemployed and on the streets.
According to the National Center for Family Literacy, Research Facts and Figures, “children who lack early exposure to reading struggle academically, tend to suffer from low self-esteem, and are at much higher risk of substance abuse, teen pregnancy, and delinquency. ” Having parents that can’t read increases the chances that their children will also struggle with reading, thus continuing the cycle of illiteracy (Page Ahead Children’s Literacy Program).
Not having the luxury of reading or being read to as a child can cause these problems. Our solution is to provide books to these students to stop these problems. According to the Page Ahead Children’s Literacy Program website, “reading aloud to children is the single most effective parent practice for enhancing language and literacy development” (Page Ahead Children’s Literacy Program). Simply reading to a child can have a big impact on their literacy development and later on their academic career.
According to an Early Childhood Longitudinal Study, 76% of children who were read to at least three times a week had mastered the letter-sound relationship compared to 64% of children who were read to less than three times (Denton, Flanagan, & McPhee, 2009). By providing the opportunity for low-income children to have books it not only helps them academically, but also introduces them to new ways to spend their time and keep them out of trouble. Overall, our goal is to help as many children as we can, increase their literacy skills, and keep them in school to eventually graduate.
KEEPRA Entities Kinship Kinship will be developed with the respective families of the students that attend Lincoln Middle School. The book drive will enhance the relationship between the families of the students of Lincoln Middle School by creating a bond between the child and parent. Making sure that there is participation from the parents will increase the bond between the families. The main goal for kinship is for the students and families to have access to books so that they can ultimately increase their literacy rates.
The book drive will benefit the children and their families because it is an inexpensive and simple way to encourage them to read. The books that will be collected from the drive will be taken to Lincoln Middle School. The students will be able to choose books that they would be able to take home with them. Consequently they would be able to share with their families the different books that have chosen. Also, the families could use the books to enhance the literacy rates of the children by having a designated reading time with their children, where they could all take turns reading.
When the parents read aloud with the children it will help improve the literacy of everyone involved. Also, the families will be able to go with their children to the pick up books so that it could be more participation of everyone in the family. Ideally, the families will enjoy the time that they spend together choosing the books and reading them together. This will encourage the children to want to read on their own and appreciate the books that they have received.
The easy accessibility of the books will make the students and families continue to read to improve their literacy rates. Economic Youth’s ability to read and write is an important measure to enhance a community’s human capital. By aiding in adolescent literacy and education, youth will be more equipped to become economically successful citizens in the community. Targeting low income middle-school children would increase their literacy levels and decrease the amount of money later on to train them for future jobs and have a much better employment prospects.
Through academic engagement, young children in the community will increase their chances of advancing their education and in turn fulfilling their eventual social and civic obligations (Venezky, Kaestle, & Sum, 1987). Participation in this particular impact area of raising low-SES youth’s literacy rates will have a ripple effect within the direct community and economy by assisting parents, strengthening families, mentoring children, and providing education that allows for different avenues in later life. One core principle objective of economic development is to promote educational planning.
By providing books and increasing literacy rates, the effect would be arming children with additional forms of communication. In this way, literacy would be contributing to economic development by raising productivity of the children themselves, the people working with the children, and intensifying the flow of general knowledge (of the environment, health, nutrition). This will then allow the children to grow and take better care of their selves and decrease the costs of health care within the community (Blaug, 1966).
There are many businesses and individuals that would be willing to donate books and educational items that would fund this book drive. We would not limit donated items to just books, other items could include basic school supplies and art supplies to aid in the entire education process. Education The Lincoln Middle School book drive will be set up to raise awareness and improve literacy rates for students who do not have access to books outside of school.
Being in an impoverished part of Gainesville, students that go to Lincoln Middle might not be able to afford books on their own or even lack the resources to go to a public library. The plan for the book drive is to make sure that students are able as possible to take home books because the main strategy to improve literacy is to actually read more and if students do not have any books than they cannot practice reading. Literacy is vital to how well students perform in school; if a student cannot read adequately or at all then they will be at risk of failing.
Being able to read well is essential in standardized testing; students must past the Florida Comprehensive Assessment Test (FCAT) in order to move on to the next grade level. Students that cannot read well can be expected to fail the reading portion of the FCAT, resulting in them being held back from moving on to the next grade level. The Florida Department of Education released data exhibiting that in 2010 40% of Lincoln Middle School students received a failing grade in the reading section (FDOE 2010).
This has a greater impact when students eventually reach high school. According to Roderick (1994) of the U. S. Department of Education, “If a child is held back for one year, his/her probability of graduating from high school decreases to 50%, and if retained a second year their graduation rate drops to about 1% (Roderick, 1994). Without a high school diploma or something equivalent to it, students will not be able to get into college or even get a quality job.
If a student is incapable of reading they will be at a severe disadvantage of being considered for a job position since most employers want competent workers who are capable of holding their own and doing the job given to them and earn a profit; but if that person cannot read then they will most likely not be able to complete the task. Hopefully if the book drive is successful the students will have enough material to practice improving their reading skills and be able to graduate, then go onto college, and eventually find a good job.
Political The U. S. Department of Education and congress passed the No Child Left behind Act to eliminate the gap between education quality among children with various SESs. The purpose of this act is to ensure that all children have a fair, equal, and significant opportunity to obtain a high-quality education and reach, at a minimum, proficiency on challenging State academic achievement standards and state academic assessments (U. S. Department of Education, 2004).
This purpose can be accomplished by ensuring that academic assessments teacher preparation, and instructional materials are aligned with academic standards so that students, teachers, and parents can measure progress against common expectations for student academic achievement;
As well as, meeting the educational needs of low-achieving children in our Nation’s highest-poverty schools and holding schools, local educational agencies, and States accountable for improving the academic achievement of all students, and identifying and turning around low-performing schools that have failed to provide a high-quality education to their students (U.S. Department of Education, 2004) .
The government believes that in order to do this distributing and targeting resources sufficiently will make a difference to local educational agencies and schools where needs are greatest. Lincoln Middle school falls into the statistics to be greatly assisted by this act, they have the lack of quality education given to students, they are located in and high-poverty stricken area, and have low-achieving students because the students are negatively affected from not having the resources necessary to improve their abilities.
But we believe that the book drive will significantly help those students who are put at a disadvantage since they will now have the resources needed to succeed as mentioned above in the guidelines set for by the No Child Left Behind Act. Religion Churches and religious institutions can be the key to help promote improvement in any community or neighborhood. As Ruth-Heffelbower (1996) stated, “I believe the church has at least three roles to play in the society, the first is witness to God’s love and power.
The second is to call society to peace, justice and compassion. The third role is to work toward the welfare of all members of the society” (Ruth-Heffelbower, 1996). With the third role the church has in a community is to work toward the welfare of all members of society, the book drive fulfills this. By participating in the book drive the church and its members are working toward the welfare of all members of society. They are giving back to the community and attempting to improve the quality of another child’s education.
The church does have a role to play in society by working toward the welfare of all members of society. The importance of this role is that the church sees itself as called by God to demonstrate how things could be. It is one thing to tell people another way would be better, and quite another to demonstrate it. In order to have a book drive, we contacted local churches in Gainesville to speak to them about our idea. We quickly received positive feedback and most churches were open to our book drive.
Grace United Methodist Church and United Trinity Methodist Church each are allowing us to set up a drop box for the Lincoln Middle School book drive. Any books in decent condition are appreciated and accepted. With our project, it allows the local families in the community to donate their used or old books to our book drive. We advertise for our book drive through announcements in the Sunday services and also we have asked to be placed in the Sunday bulletin.
First Presbyterian Church in downtown Gainesville was pleased to hear about our idea especially because they have members of their church who attend Lincoln Middle School. They allowed us to run a note in the Sunday bulletin. Since everyone typically reads the bulletin that enables everyone to know the necessary details about the book drive. We also have worked closely with the Sunday school teachers to ask the parents to participate when the pick up or drop off their children at Sunday school.
Having a book drive through our local churches not only enables the students of Lincoln Middle School to receive books that they can read, but it also allows them to learn about religion. Some of the books that have been donated are religious books, which could benefit the student and help them achieve a better understanding of religion. The success of this book drive depends on the support and help throughout the community. First Presbyterian Church of Gainesville Grace United Methodist Church Trinity United Methodist Church Association.
For our project to be effective, the Lincoln Middle School book drive needs the aid of local organization to help with our donations. We are fortunate enough to have access to and make connections with many different associations in the area. Associations in particular that have helped greatly are the United Way and the University of Florida athletics program. The United Way has collected approximately 12,500 new and used books valuing over $60,000 over the past year to provide the tools necessary for literacy to children in North Central Florida (United Way of North Central Florida, 2010).
Through the United Way we can link up with other groups seeking the same goal and who have done so recently. Of these groups, one that stands out for having a successful book drive campaign is the University of Florida Gators Gymnastic team. The Gators Gymnastics Book Drive received over 1,000 books in donations; 532 of these were sent to the United Way to be distributed to needy children (United Way of North Central Florida, 2010). Books were collected by allowing fans to gain free entrance into one of the gymnastic meets by donating at least two books upon arrival.
Thanks to the United Way and athletics many children now have books of their own to read and provide us with a foundation for how we can set up our project and strive for our goal. So with the collective effort among us, the United Way, and other groups associated with the United Way we will be able to gather enough resource and make our book drive just as successful. Linkages Associations and Education There is a linkage between associations and education through the University of Florida gymnastics team and the United Way.
By using the association and the help of these organizations we can help the children of Lincoln Middle School. We can also use the education of the University of Florida and its students to volunteer and help the students to pass the FCAT. Both the University of Florida gymnastics team and the United Way have collected books to help underprivileged children. Economics and Kinship One of the main support systems of our program is the community and the families of the children. With their help we are able to provide new books to children who aren’t able to have them or even the access of a library.
With the encouragement of the parents and the surrounding community we can continue this program and maybe even expand to other low-income schools. Religion and Education The religious community is a very big part of Gainesville. With the help and support of the local churches we can talk to the children about the importance of reading. Reading is a big part of church services and different religious groups have offered to help the children by donating books and helping to read. The religious support of the churches can help give the students the faith and encourage them in their academic careers.
Political and Economics When it comes to politics it’s a big influence on most of the things we do in this society. We can use the help of different political organizations to help with our program. By spreading the word about upcoming book drives and the importance of reading, we can better our children’s literacy skills and the expansion of our program. The financial support of the different political organizations will help keep these children in school and onto a successful future.
Courtney from Study Moose
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