Meet Emily, a second-grade student at Browning Elementary School. Emily loves to read, particularly biographies about prominent historical figures and adventure and fantasy books. She is one of more than 550 children in the school who have created wish lists as part of the My Home Library pilot initiative we launched in January. Like all wish lists that have been created online through the custom-designed website, Emily's wish list contains six books she wants to read at home and keep for her very own home library. Her list includes books such as I am Abraham Lincoln written by Brad Meltzer and Roald Dahl's James and the Giant Peach.
Ninety percent of the children in Emily's school are considered economically disadvantaged based on their family's level of income. In fact, more than 84 percent of children in the Houston Independent School District-the largest district in Texas and the 7th largest in America-are economically disadvantaged. Simply put, for many children right here in Houston, books are a luxury their families simply can't afford. Yet, research shows that when children have access to books in their homes, they read more often and have higher reading achievement levels. Moreover, books in the home are a key factor in determining future success and mitigating setbacks in reading achievement evidenced during summer months. Summertime book access in the home is particularly imperative because children without books in the home lose two to three months of reading proficiency, while children who have access to books in the home actually gain reading proficiency.
I believe that everyone has the right to learn how to read. To ensure equity of opportunity for reading success, the book gap in our city must be closed. Visit MyHomeLibraryHouston.org today to sponsor a child's home library of six books with your $30 tax-deductible donation. Help make children like Emily's wish to have their very own home library come true. Your support is deeply appreciated. I look forward to sharing photos of the home library give-away in our March newsletter.
Julie Baker Finck, Ph.D.