Did you know that kids who are read to regularly have larger vocabularies, better communication skills and higher self-esteem than those with little to no exposure to books? An early reader also has a stronger sense of confidence and self-image due to their ability to communicate effectively with peers, teachers and parents. So knowing how beneficial it is, how do we ensure that all children have a chance to develop their reading skills?
KPMG, an international business firm, has a unique solution. In 2008, KPMG’s Family for Literacy (KFFL) program was launched to remove the biggest barrier to children’s literacy: lack of books. KFFL partnered with First Book to provide brand new books to children all over the United States and abroad.
CUCS was recently invited to work with KFFL and receive books for the kids living at two of our housing residences, the Sydelle and the Lenniger. Located in the Bronx, the residences are home to more than 70 children ranging from preschool to high school. Gabrielle, the Program Director for both sites, had the pleasure of selecting the 500 books to be donated. “I told the staff, we’re going to get 250 books for each site and they were excited to send their picks and favorites,” Gabrielle explains.
The list of books ordered included classics like Goodnight Moon, Dr. Seuss’s Cat in the Hat, Berenstain Bears and James and the Giant Peach, among many others. For the older kids, staff made sure to include popular Young Adult titles such as The Fault in Our Stars and The Hunger Games trilogy.
Gabrielle hopes the kids in the Sydelle and Lenniger programs can develop an appreciation for books like her own. “I love reading. When I was little, in the middle of the night I would be under my covers reading, so to me, books really are a symbol of hope and imagination. Imagination is really important in child development. Giving our kids that space to dream and imagine is great.”
Gabrielle goes on to explain that most of the kids living in the buildings don’t have books of their own. “They see books in school but they don’t have books in their homes so to have access to a library right there in their building means a lot. It gives kids an opportunity for to discover new stories and learn about different ways to express themselves.”
The staff at the Lenniger and the Sydelle look forward to using the books to create a new kid’s play area in the CUCS office, ensuring everyone has access to the new reading resources. “We’re just really excited to give parents access to that, to read to their kids. For a lot of our parents, they haven’t had access to books. For them, to have the physical tools to do that for their kids is a really big deal.”
With the help of the KFFL program, we’re making a difference in the next generation of readers and leaders!