Steven Wasko at 313-873-4542 or Jennifer Mrozowski at 313-873-8401
The Detroit Free Press’ Gift of Reading Program has announced it will donate 25,000 books to Detroit Public Schools, which will mean a new book for every student in grades Pre-K to third grade. The donation builds on the Free Press’ call to action for citizens to volunteer as tutors as part of the district’s Volunteer Reading Corps.
With help from Operation: Kid Equip, the Beyond Basics literacy tutoring program, Borders Books, UHY LLP and Detroit Free Press readers, The Gift of Reading Program hopes to make a bigger difference than ever this year. By the time school is out for winter break, 25,000 children will have a new book to take home and enjoy with their families.
Since the creation of Gift of Reading in 1987, the Detroit Free Press has distributed more than 700,000 books to needy, at-risk Michigan children. The Free Press provides these books to children during the holidays through Head Start programs, homeless shelters, clinics and agencies serving Braille-reading youngsters. Gift of Reading also supports school libraries in desperate need of resources throughout the year.
“We know that children who are exposed to books and reading at an early age are more likely to be successful in school and in life,” said Deb Scola, vice president of Detroit Free Press Charities. “And children who can’t read at grade level by the third grade have a higher risk of struggling to stay in school, to find and hold jobs, to help their own children become successful.”
“All children can succeed, given the right tools – this is such an exciting program and we’re proud to play a part,” said Free Press Editor and Publisher Paul Anger.
DPS’ Volunteer Reading Corps initiative was launched after results on the National Assessment of Educational Progress showed Detroit children ranking the lowest in the nation on the math test.
Emergency Financial Manager Robert Bobb initially called on citizens to volunteer 100,000 hours collectively to tutor reading in DPS schools and help a child learn to read. Bobb then upped the ante, calling on people to give a half-million hours over five years. More than 3,000 people were trained at a rally Jan. 23 at Renaissance High School.
More than 5,700 people have volunteered to date from more than 130 municipalities, pledging more than 680,000 hours annually or more than 3.4 million hours over 5 years. More than 2,500 people have been assigned to schools.
Readers can donate to the Gift of Reading program in three ways:
– Tax-deductible monetary donations can be made online at www.freep.com/reading, or by check payable to Gift of Reading, P.O. Box 640703, Detroit, MI 48264-0703.
– New books can be donated at one of the drop-off locations listed at www.freep.com/reading through December, and at all metro Detroit Borders bookstores from November 2-14.
– By using the Borders Benefits day voucher, printable at www.freep.com/reading, 10% of your in-store purchases made from November 8-14 will benefit Gift of Reading.
For more information on how you can join the effort, please contact Deb Scola at 313-222-6895 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
To volunteer with the Volunteer Reading Corps, email email@example.com. For more information, go to www.detroitk12.org/readingcorps.