BB&T West Virginia Foundation helps put books in children’s hands

The BB&T West Virginia Foundation has awarded Read Aloud a $2,500 grant to support book distribution programs throughout the state. BB&T has provided similar financial support for several years, and the organization is grateful for the role they continue to play in helping Read Aloud maintain and expand its book distribution programs.

Sixty-one percent of low-income families do not have children’s books in the home, according to the Campaign for Grade Level Reading. Research has found that access to books is a critical factor in educational achievement. It is such a key element that researcher and California State University professor Jeff McQuillan concluded that “the only behavior measure that correlates significantly with reading scores is the number of books in the home.”

Read Aloud West Virginia offers comprehensive, research-based programming designed to engage families, provide consistent “commercials” for reading in the classroom and increase student access to print. Distribution of books and other high-interest reading materials through events that engage children and families is integral to our efforts. Projects vary from county to county based on availability of funds and resources. Programs offered include:

Reading Round Up

Working in conjunction with public schools, volunteers distribute books, magazines and educational materials to students and parents participating in spring Kindergarten and Pre-kindergarten Round-ups (enrollment fairs attended by a majority of students entering kindergarten). Children choose their books from a selection of titles chosen for their age group.

Snuggle and Read

Preschool students and their families are invited to a program where they receive a blanket and books of their choice. A short presentation provides information about the importance of reading aloud to children and a parent’s role in education. Children hear a story read by a Read Aloud volunteer and educational materials are provided to families.

Summer Reading Initiative

This program provides six books to each student at a designated elementary school at the end of the school year. Ideally, the program is offered to students for a minimum of three years to maximize efficacy, as the effects of summer learning loss are cumulative. Children choose the books they receive from a list of titles selected by experts in the field of children’s literacy and an end-of-year event is held to distribute the books.

Distribution by Request

Read Aloud sponsors general distribution of new and used books as funding and availability permit. It is important to distribute books in a way that is meaningful to students and involves families in the process. All schools enrolled in Read Aloud are eligible to request books through this program. Schools often request books for distribution at family fun nights and other school-sponsored events.

BB&T West Virginia Foundation has been an indispensable partner to Read Aloud West Virginia’s Book Distribution Program. Since 2008, Read Aloud has grown to serve 30 county chapters. That growth brings additional opportunities to place books in the hands and homes of children. With BB&T West Virginia Foundation’s support, the organization can provide more children the tools they need to succeed in school and life.

Teamwork puts books in homes of Tucker County students

Kindergarten students at Tucker Valley Elementary/Middle School received book shelves and books for their homes at the school’s year-end picnic.

Read Aloud chapter coordinator Tracy Harlan partnered with Janice Brady of West Virginia Children’s Home to the benefit of both organizations.

“I donated 100 teen books to WVCH and in turn, Mr. Mike Mason, woodworking instructor, and a team of students worked on building the shelves,” said Harlan.

“It was an amazing result,” she continued. “We got the shelves we needed and [Brady] created a mobile lab for her students to use to check out books. It was a win-win for all!”