Read To Learn Books For Free – Encouraging Reading In South Florida

Even though children are reading more than ever and two of the most successful genres in modern publishing are Young Adult and Children’s books, Miami-Dade image002County officials are considering the closing of some libraries. If the Mayor and Commissioners do not want to raise property taxes, then they are looking at closing some libraries as way so save money and raise revenue. In a “worst-case scenario,” the government is looking to close 22 libraries that include: California Club, Opa-locka, Golden Glades, Civic Center Kiosk, Lemon City, Little River, Model City, Culmer, North Shore, Shenandoah, South Shore, Fairlawn, Virrick Park, Country Walk, Concord, Sunset, Lakes of the Meadows, Tamiami, West Kendall Regional, Doral, Hialeah Gardens and Palm Springs North.
This is a problem. Nearly half of Miami-Dade County 3rd graders fail to read at the basic grade level. A new communitywide campaign aims to change that daunting reality. Children not reading well by 3rd grade are four times more likely to drop out of high school.

That is why many institutions in Miami-Dade County have launched initiatives to encourage reading in young children and their parents. The Children’s Trust and The Center for image003Literature and Theatre @ Miami Dade College are partnering to launch Read To Learn Books For Free to inspire a love for reading in communities where children have little access to books. This is part of a larger Read to Learn campaign with the goal of having all children in Miami-Dade County reading at or above grade level by third grade.

Read to Learn Books for Free will make books more accessible to children through strategically placed bookshelves filled with new and gently used age-appropriate books in highly visited locations – such as government agencies, low-income housing sites, and health clinics, just to name a few. Parents and children will be encouraged to take one book home from the shelves to read together. So far shelves have been placed at the Borinquen Medical Center Pediatric Unit, Cutler manor Apartments, Goulds Community Service Center, Joseph Caleb Community Service Center, KidsTown Pediatrics Legion Park Perrine Community Service Center, Wynwood Community Service Center, Miami Children’s Initiative Community Center, Jessie Trice Center for Community Center, North Miami Gardens Community Service Center, image004Catalyst Miami Open Door Health Center, Lotus House, Little Haiti Cultural Center, Glen Meadows Campbell Arms Apartment, Family Court Service.

Book drives will be held all year-round to keep shelves fully stocked at all times with the cooperation of corporate sponsors. The first 5,000 books were donated by Disney through First Book. Donations bins are located at the South Florida Business Journal, Sapient Corp, ZGS Digital, Bello Martinez & Ramirez PA, Toyota of Homestead and the ArtCenter South Florida.

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