Friday, October 16, 2015

If I had a million dollars...

Well, not technically a million dollars, let's talk $250,000.

I was listening to a Book Riot podcast the other day and they were discussing James Patterson’s announcement that he is putting up $250,000 to give to independent book sellers as a Christmas bonus.  On the podcast they were discussing what they would do with the money if it was there money.  One suggestion was that it should be put in a pot of money that they could access if they had emergency medical issues since insurance for independent book sellers can be super expensive and hard to come by. 

I kind of thought it was interesting to think what YOU or *I* would do if we had the extra $250,000 to use for literacy.

1.        I would put money towards Imagination Library.  Total: $100,000


“In 1995, Dolly Parton launched an exciting new effort, Dolly Parton's Imagination Library, to benefit the children of her home county in East Tennessee, USA. Dolly's vision was to foster a love of reading among her county’s preschool children and their families by providing them with the gift of a specially selected book each month. By mailing high quality, age-appropriate books directly to their homes, she wanted children to be excited about books and to feel the magic that books can create. Moreover, she could insure that every child would have books, regardless of their family’s income. “ – Imagination Library website

 I’ve had my daughter signed up since her first birthday.  I didn’t do it the first year because honestly, we have a ton of books.  We have more books than we need.  As she got older and could get the excitement of getting mail, I signed her up.  However, you can sign your child up as soon as they are born.  Inside the jacket of each book they have reading prompts and activities you can ask/ do with your child.  Such a great program for families who CAN’T afford books.  I’m a huge proponent of early literacy and this is an amazing program.  You can check out the website for more information and to find out if you have it in your area.  The average cost is about $25/30 per year for each kid. 

2.        Find local teachers and ask them what books they need for their classroom.  Total: $100,000

Books are expensive.  It’s hard when you are teaching and you KNOW that to get kids excited about reading you need a broad selection.  It’s hard to keep your stock up to date with new stuff (covers do attract readers, and the look of it came from the 80s, not so appealing!).  To distribute I’d give out checks or ask if they would want the books directly purchased and sent.  (Teachers have limited time!) 

On a side note, I’d definitely suggest if you are a teacher, to have an amazon wish list of books for your classroom libraries that you can share with parents or just for your own knowledge for if you are asked what books your classroom needs!

3.        Give the rest to local school libraries.  Total: $50,000

Money is tight.  School libraries (in MY schooling experience) had even OLDER books than the classroom teacher’s stash.  I’d once again ask if they wanted directly purchased or given money.  But I’d stipulate that all money was put on new book purchases/replacing old books.  If that means you need to donate some books to make more space on bookshelves so be it.  Perhaps, money to be spent on ONE new bookshelf, but let’s excite readers.  Out with the not going to be touched and in with the READ ME books.

Obviously, my way is not THE ONLY way.  Nor is Patterson’s.  It’s his money to do what he wants.  And an admirable way to spend it since he could spend it all on himself!  I want to point out that Patterson also recently pledged $1.25 million to school libraries and has done other money donations in the past.  I’m strictly posting this as a fun, but slightly serious look at how you would spend money to help promote reading/literacy in your community!

How would you spend $250,000 towards reading/literacy? What local resources do you know that help promote reading/literacy? If you can’t name one, I challenge you to do some research today and find out about local resources and potentially HOW YOU CAN help make a difference.

“Be the change that you wish to see in the world.” – Gandhi

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