Donated books open doors for preschoolers

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How do you increase high school graduation rates, raise the quality of the workforce and break generational cycles of poverty?

You teach preschoolers that reading is fun.

The DeKalb/Sycamore Bookcase Project is collecting donations of new and gently-used preschool-level books through Friday, April 5. In May, the books will be presented to 50 children who attend Two Rivers Head Start. Each child will receive a solid-oak, two-shelf bookcase with a personalized brass nameplate and a starter library. MDO/ABC Preschool in Sycamore got the project off to a good start with a donation of 377 books collected in February.

When age-appropriate books are available, children learn to enjoy reading, and parents can encourage them by reading together as a family. A German study of nearly 3,000 children found that the number of books available in the home was a strong predictor of a child’s academic success. A massive analysis by nonprofit group Reading is Fundamental found that having lots of books in the home played a major role in motivating children to read. Yet, more than 40 percent of American children grow up in homes that lack the disposable income to buy books.

At the Bookcase Project’s literacy banquet fundraiser in February, Two Rivers Sycamore office director Andrea Galitz said families selected last year were delighted to receive the books and the bookcases.

“We have some non-English speakers, and they were still so excited to get the English-language books,” she said.

Donated books should be new or gently-used in good condition – books the children can be proud to own. The project is seeking only books targeted at children ages 3 to 5, and no religious texts.

For more information, call 815-758-8577 or find the DeKalb/Sycamore Bookcase Project on Facebook.

MidWeek editor Dana Herra is a member of the DeKalb/Sycamore Bookcase Project steering committee.

Book donation sites

Parents with children in a DeKalb School District 428 school can send donations to school with their child. The general public can donate at the following locations during normal business hours through April 5:

• Lincoln Inn, 240 E. Lincoln Highway, DeKalb

• DeKalb County Housing Authority Office, 310 N. Sixth St., DeKalb

• Resource Bank Bethany Road Branch, 555 Bethany Road, DeKalb

• Resource Bank Annie Glidden Branch, 775 S. Annie Glidden Road, DeKalb

• Resource Bank Malta Branch, 201 State Route 38, Malta

• Resource Bank Cortland Branch, 10 W. North Ave., Cortland

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