United Way's Books for Kids

Thursday, March 29, 2018

Books for Kids

Four-year-old kindergarten students at Bridges Child Enrichment Center enjoy their Little Golden Books.

Contributor: Susan Perri, Marketing and Communication Specialist at United Way Fox Cities

Little Golden Books, with their memorable shiny golden spines, hold a special place in the childhoods of generations dating back 76 years to 1942. Now, thanks to a local printing company, children across the Fox Cities will be receiving donations of Little Golden Books each month to enjoy.

Instead of filling their recycling bins with overrun Little Golden Books, the printing company has decided to give the extra books to children, through a partnership with United Way Fox Cities. (Have we mentioned how amazing our community is?) So far in 2018, approximately 30 community partners have received books to promote literacy among the children they serve, including school districts, nonprofits, health departments, and libraries. The books are already affecting many lives. Here are just a few examples:

  • The Fox Cities Diaper Bank, an initiative of United Way Fox Cities, is including a book with each bag of diapers distributed to low-income families.
  • YMCA of the Fox Cities is packing books in kits for children who interact with the police during potentially trauma-inducing situations.
  • Bridges Child Enrichment Center is receiving books for their four-year-old kindergarten (4k) students. On the first day of spring, each student received the classic title, Richard Scarry’s “I am a Bunny,” a story about the four seasons. In the classroom, the students focused on practicing turning pages, identifying print concepts (such as finding the period at the end of the sentence), and coloring their own picture to illustrate the changes in the seasons.

    Students then took the books home – to keep! Katie Dudley, a 4k teacher at Bridges, said, “Literacy is such an important component to early learning. I sent home a handout with several literacy prompts to help caregivers interact with their child during read-aloud times. The donation of these books allowed for a classroom-to-home connection.”

We are very excited about this new opportunity! One of United Way Fox Cities’ goals is that all children are on track to reach their full potential. Research shows, the presence of a home library is the most influential variable when predicting educational outcomes, more than socioeconomic status and the profession of the father.* This book donation program, which we are calling “United Way's Books for Kids,” is a great way to support the many efforts around our goal. The legacy of beloved Little Golden Books will no doubt continue in the hearts of new generations in the Fox Cities.
*Reference: Evans, M. D. R., et al. Family scholarly culture and educational success: Books and schooling in 27 nations. Research in Social Stratification and Mobility (2010)