The numbers don’t lie. Consider the following facts about childhood literacy.
The educational careers of up to 40% of children are imperiled because they don’t read well enough, quickly enough or easily enough.
As many as 50% of children provided with 10 to 20 self-selected books at the end of a regular school year make reading gains.
Reading aloud to children is so critical that the American Academy of Pediatrics recommends doctors prescribe reading activities along with other advice given to parents during regular check-ups.
Our focus is all about working with community partners to foster students love of reading, while also helping them improve literacy skills.
OBJECTIVE 1: individual student
My Very Own Library revolves around engaging individual students from Pre-K to 8th grade. Our goal here is to cultivate a lasting appreciation and motivation for reading in every child. There are three ways this is accomplished.
The first and core of the My Very Own Library program is our national partnership with Scholastic Book Fairs. Every year, each child gets to choose 9 free, new books throughout the school year to build their own home libraries. In addition, My Very Own Library pays for each school partner to send one extra book home with students to read as a summer activity. Our book fairs strategically take place three times during the school year to encourage reading while school is out of session: December before Winter break; March before Spring break; and June before Summer break.
The second way we motivate students is through recognition opportunities for individual students. Recognition programs have been developed at several participating schools, providing fun ways to encourage students to reach new heights with reading. One example of this is the launch of the All Star Reader Program in our Newark location that celebrates top readers from each participating school with an award.
The third way My Very Own Library creates enthusiasm around reading is by hosting author visits at participating schools. Author visits have become one of the most fun and innovative ways for MVOL to motivate students to read and write. Schools select 100 students to participate in each event. Children read the author’s book in advance, and on the day of the visit they experience an interactive presentation followed by a Q&A with the author. The visit concludes with a book signing where they receive a signed copy of the author’s book to add to their home library. Many of these books have received the highest accolades in children’s literature, including (but not limited to)… Coretta Scott King Award Winner, Dorothy Canfield Fisher Children’s Book Award, John Newbery Medal, Eisner Award, Ambassador of Children’s Literacy, NAACP Image Award for Outstanding Literary Work, Coretta Scott King Award Winner John Steptoe New Talent Award Oprah’s Book Club Reading List, Young Readers Choice Award, Golden Archer Award.
This is the growing list of authors that have proudly visited My Very Own Library Programs since 2011
Andrea Davis Pinkney
Christina Diaz Gonzalez
Jane B. Mason
Matt de le Pena
Sarah Darer Littman
Sayantani Das Gupta
Sharon Dennis Wyeth
Taye Diggs & Shane W. Evans
Tiffany Strelitz Haber
Walter Dean Myers
OBJECTIVE 2: family engagement
“84% of caregivers surveyed report that they have learned new strategies from the My Very Own Library program.”
OBJECTIVE 3: community
Volunteers also visit and read aloud to students which works to strengthen foundational literacy skills, increase vocabulary, and is an inclusive way to orchestrate something special in their community.
OBJECTIVE 4: school support
In each of our US markets, Scholastic matched 50% of every $1 spent on books for students in special Scholastic Dollars. An online account is established, and Schools can spend these “dollars” on thousands of school supplies in the robust online Scholastic catalog. Schools can use this credit to buy books for their library, classroom books, purchase items for teacher incentives, family engagement events, technology, furniture, and more!
You’re never too old, too wacky, to pick up a book and read to a child.
Get In Touch
My Very Own Library
C/O: United Way of Essex and West Hudson
60 Park Place, Suite 1400
Newark, New Jersey 07102
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