Our lovely anecdote about two young brothers will touch your heart. But more importantly, it also shows why it’s so important to ensure little ones can get their hands on books.
Some stories are too good not to share.
And Book Trust heard a doozy recently, while visiting one of the schools it supports. (Note: We empower kids at low-income schools to choose and buy their own books every month. That’s our thing.)
So, Diego is a fifth grader at this school. And last month, he chose a new Batman book as part of his monthly Book Trust order.
Now it just so happens that Diego’s younger brother, three-year-old Adrian, is a huge Batman fan. And he had been asking about Diego’s new Batman book ever since the order was placed.
Every day when Diego came home from school, Adrian was at the door: ‘Has it arrived yet? Did it come yet? Is it here?’
On the day the Book Trust delivery finally arrived, Diego was beside himself with excitement. As soon as the school bell rang, he ran home as fast as he could to read the story out loud over and over again to his kid brother.
So, a cute story, right? Kid gets a book he likes, reads it to his little brother. It’s really sweet.
But the killer detail in this yarn – the line that’s really worth remembering – is what three-year-old Adrian said once the book was finished.
“Man, I can’t wait to go to school. I want to know what all those letters mean.”
And there you have it: priceless wisdom from the mouth of a three-year-old. Because this is exactly what Book Trust does: Instills in kids a passion for reading and learning.
You see, Diego and Adrian live in a home where money is tight and life is sometimes hard. Once the rent, food and other necessities have been paid for, there isn’t enough money left to buy books for the children.
And their story is far from unique. You could fill a library with all the depressing statistics relating to low-income families and education. An average of only one book per 300 households. Massive high school drop-out rates. A cyclical culture of failure, where poor academic performance is passed on from generation to generation.
And yet, despite all that, here was this little guy, just three-years-old, already excited about books and desperate to learn how to read.
And there are six good reasons why that’s so important.
1. If children fall in love with reading early on, they’re more likely to develop strong literacy skills.
2. If they develop strong literacy skills, there’s a greater chance of them making that critical pivot from learning to read to reading to learn.
3. If they are able to read to learn, they’ll be better able to master more complex subjects in school.
4. With success in school, they’re much more likely to go on to college or a career of their choice.
5. With a college education, they’ll get a better job and earn more money.
6. With a good job, there’s a better chance they will become productive members of their community. And crucially, they’ll be much more likely to pass on knowledge and learning to their own children, when the time comes.
And so the cycle of failure is broken. All that, seriously, can start with an excited three-year-old looking over his brother’s shoulder at a Batman book.
Time to let you in on a little secret. This thing we’ve built at Book Trust – it works. It works really well.
Every time – every single time – the Book Trust team visits a school, teachers and students share stories that are music to our ears.
‘We couldn’t get Denise to even look at a book, but now she’s reading four a week.’
‘I was below grade level Miss, but now I’m two grades ahead.’
‘I never know which books to choose; they’re all just so good!’
Lots of young lives are absolutely being changed by the work we do. In just this past year alone, more than 38,000 children became the proud owners of nearly 1 million books.
While everyone at Book Trust is passionate about this cause, our kind-hearted supporters are the engine that powers the whole enterprise forward. And we can’t thank them enough.
Every donation – each small act of kindness – translates directly into books and a love of reading for grateful children. Young kids who, without such support, would literally be left empty-handed.
After all, consider Diego and Adrian’s ‘Batman’ story. It may well be lovely and inspiring.
But you wouldn’t be hearing about it now if they’d had no book to share in the first place.
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