It’s not breaking news that not enough Americans read books. According to commonly cited statistics, 33% of US high school graduates will never read a book after graduation. Even if everyone was inclined to read, only 50% of US adults can do so at or above an 8th grade level. And 60% of inmates can’t read at all, so read between the lines about the effects of being illiterate.
If you’re reading this blog, I’m pretty sure you already understand the joy and benefits of reading. Personally, not only do I find it entertaining, but I’m convinced that reading has made me a better writer, a better thinker, and, most importantly, a better Trivial Pursuit player.
I think reading is so important that I’ve decided to make a new year’s resolution about encouraging others to read and I’d like you to join me. If you’re in the Kansas City area, I’ve made this easy for you by identifying ways to get involved locally.
1. Host a children’s book drive for Reach Out and Read KC.
Reach Out and Read provides free books to low income kids when they come in for their well-child visits to one of the organization’s partner clinics. 30,000 children, ages birth through 5, receive books each year. Reach Out and Read makes it easy to host book drives by providing collection boxes and marketing materials. For more information: http://www.reachoutandreadkc.org/
2. Help teach adults to read at Literacy KC.
Literacy KC teaches reading, writing, math and digital skills to adults. There are a variety of volunteer opportunities, which you can learn more about here: http://literacykc.org/volunteers/volunteer-opportunities/
3. Read to elementary school students through Read to Lead.
Read to Lead’s 900 volunteers read one-on-one with kids in grades 1-4 in 48 urban classrooms. Volunteers read once a week for 30 minutes around lunchtime, so even busy working folk can participate. Here’s their website: http://www.leadtoreadkc.org/
4. Attend an Olathe Public Library book sale.
Stock up on your next good reads and support the library at the same time – it’s a win-win situation! By the way, they also accept used book donations. Dates for 2017 sales will be posted here when available: http://www.olathelibrary.org/booksales
5. Donate money.
Of course, all of the organizations listed above accept good old-fashioned cash. Another charity to consider is one started by KCMO mayor Sly James called Turn the Page KC. They focus on raising the reading proficiency of 3rd graders in KC public schools and partner with some of the groups discussed here. Here’s their website: http://turnthepagekc.org/
So there you have it – 5 pretty simple ways you can spread the joy of reading. Go forth and evangelize! (You can get started by sharing this post on Facebook, Twitter, or LinkedIn)