Give the Gift of Family Reading
Give the Gift of Family Reading is a program that can provide new books at the holidays for families to give to their children as gifts. Community members donate new books or funding for books through drives hosted by sports teams, service organizations, and at private and business holiday parties. Books can be distributed to low-income families through organizations that already serve families such as WIC (Women-Infants-Children, a federally funded nutrition assistance program for low-income families with young children), holiday celebrations at public housing sites, and through human service organizations.
If possible families are given the opportunity to choose a book from an array of new children’s books on display and a volunteer is on hand to gift wrap the book to send home as a ready holiday gift for each child in the family.
The books in this program become more valued because of the way they are distributed. The parents come to treasure the books they take home because they are involved in the choosing. The children value the books more because the books are gifts from their parents. And the family now has incorporated books as special gifts that are a part of a holiday tradition.
- Increase value of books as holiday gifts
- Support low-income families with books at holidays
- Increase book ownership
- Build books into family traditions
Give the Gift of Family Reading began in 1995 and was a Family Reading Partnership program through 2016. The idea grew as FRP founder Brigid Hubberman was bringing books to WIC sites, reading aloud, and encouraging parents to read to their children. She became quite aware that she then was sending many of them home to places where there were no books.
Brigid enlisted the help of local booksellers, who were happy to participate by offering discounts on books bought for donation. In 1998 when Cornell Hockey Coach Mike Shafer invited fans to bring books to a game, they brought in 462 new books and continued this tradition for the next 18 years.
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