If you're reading this blog, you probably know that Literacy Texas is an organization dedicated to adult education and literacy. We focus our efforts in this area because the adult learner population in Texas and in the United States as a whole has been under-served for many years, and because we know the difference that literacy and education can make on a person's life. But our motto is this: Every Texan deserves to read. And for over a million economically disadvantaged children in Texas, reading is made much more difficult by lack of access to books.
Illiteracy is cyclical. 43% of adults with the lowest reading levels live in poverty.1 On average, their children hear 30,000,000 fewer words by age 3 than their more affluent peers.2 Outside the home, economically disadvantaged children face more hurdles to their education. In low-income areas, 1 book is available for every 300 children, versus an average of 13 books in middle- and high-income homes.3 That lack of access to books leads to lower reading levels, and children who do not read on level by the end of Grade 3 are 4 times more likely to drop out of school.4 Individuals without a high school education earn an average of $10,000 less per year than those with a diploma, and $24,000 less per year than those with a bachelor's degree.5 See where we're going with this?
So while our focus is and always has been on adult literacy, Literacy Texas is taking this opportunity to shine a light on children's literacy. During our conference next month, we are partnering with Give More Hugs, a San Antonio-based nonprofit that helps underprivileged students develop a love of reading, learning, and creativity. We will be accepting donations of new and gently-used books, each with a handwritten inspirational message, for their Books Share program. Every book we receive will be put in the hands of a child at a Title I school in Texas.
If you are planning to attend our conference, we encourage you to bring a book (or two, or as many as you'd like) to donate to our book drive. At the conference, you'll have the opportunity to sit with Give More Hugs volunteers and write your inspirational message in the cover of each book you donate. If you haven't yet registered, you can do so by clicking the button below.
If you are unable to make it this year, we welcome you to send your children's books to us:
406 East 11th Street
Austin, TX 78701
Literacy Texas and Give More Hugs know that books can be a beacon of hope and light in the lives of children in poverty. We look forward to making that light shine a little brighter with your help.
1. Office of Educational Research and Improvement, U.S. Department of Education
2. American Educator
3. Handbook of Early Literacy Research, Volume 2
4. Annie E. Casey Foundation
5. Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor