The days following Thanksgiving have become “holidays” unto themselves—Black Friday, Shop Small Saturday, and Cyber Monday. Come Tuesday, though, we turn from buying to giving with Giving Tuesday.
Started in 2012, Giving Tuesday combines the power of social media and the generous spirit of people around the world (especially at this time of year) to bring change in their communities. It supports and encourages donations of time, resources, and talents to help others.
There are many ways to give, whether on Tuesday, during the holiday season, or all year long. At Reading Every Day, we’re thinking about how we can give the gift of reading to others. How about giving books and donating to organizations that do just that?!
Donating Your Books (I know. Scary!)
While the most obvious way to give is donating money, I thought we’d start with a way to give that doesn’t hit your wallet. (We know the credit cards might be hurting after all that shopping.) Donate books! This is a great time of the year to clean out and make room for the new books that will be coming.
I admit. I have a very hard time parting with books. But we are running out of room.
There are books we don’t read any more and probably never will. Books the boys have grown out of. And books that…well…have been read TOO many times (and look it). If you have a hard time letting go of books, here are some tips:
- Look over your bookshelves, baskets, and nooks. Where are they jammed or overflowing? Start with one of these areas (rather than tackling your whole collection at once).
- Organize them. Put board books in baskets for easier access and clean up. Arrange books by size, color, or topic. We store holiday books separately to make more room, though it looks like I’ve been bad about putting those books back into storage.
- As you look over your collection or a section of books, put aside what:
- Isn’t age appropriate
- Hasn’t been read in a while
- You have duplicates of
- Is falling apart (thought these shouldn’t be donated, but thrown away when you’re really done with them—I’m thinking there’s a fun activity in that, but I haven’t thought of it yet)
If your kids have trouble letting go, you may want to do a majority of this on your own. But the only way they’ll learn is if they participate. Ease them in by selecting a few books that they can let go of. (Frozen’s Let It Go keeps playing in my mind.)
You can give your books to your local library or donate to a charity.
Giving To Reading Organizations
If you would like to get involved in giving the gift of reading or financially contributing, there are many great organizations to work with. Listed alphabetically, here are four organizations I know well or have heard good things about. I’ve included their Charity Navigator score.
Chartiy Navigator score: 89.25
Partnering with educators and program leaders who serve children from low-income families, First Book has distributed more than 150 million books and educational resources since it was founded in 1992. They aim to “transform lives by improving access to equal, quality education for all kids.”
They’ve created First Book Marketplace and First Book National Book Bank as effective distribution channels for delivering books to band-aids available to members 24/7. And they’re prepared to grow. Their goal is “to reach every classroom and community in need with books and educational resources.”
Reach Out And Read
Chartiy Navigator score: 87.30
With a similar goal to us at Reading Every Day, Reach Out and Read encourages families to read aloud together but through their partnership with pediatricians (they have a blog, too). The Reach Out and Read evidence-based program “builds on the unique relationship between parents and medical providers to develop critical early reading skills in children beginning in infancy.”
Annually serving 4.7 million children and their families, they distribute 6.5 million books per year. In fact, I’ve donated our gently used books to them. Currently serving one in five children living in poverty in the U.S., they continue to grow and hope “one day the Reach Out and Read model will be a part of every young child’s checkups.”
Reading is Fundamental
Chartiy Navigator score: 84.05
Reading is Fundamental (RIF) provides books and literacy resources to children in need across the U. S. This year, they’re celebrating 50 years of giving books—more than 412 million to 40 million children.
Committed to a literate America, RIF aims to inspire a passion for reading in all children, provide impactful content and resources, and support communities in giving every child the fundamentals for success. They effectively use every dollar and donation because of their partnerships with book publishers and distributors.
United Through Reading
Chartiy Navigator score: 84.09
If you’d like to give the gift of reading AND support the military, United Through Reading is the organization for you. They’re “dedicated to uniting U.S. military families who face physical separation by facilitating the bonding experience of reading aloud together.”
Imagine the thrill of children to have their parent, away serving their country, read them a bedtime story. This is what United Through Reading does. They video-record service members reading books to their children. Their 262 recording locations around the world have served nearly 100,000 beneficiaries, and the organization has distributed as many books to military children.
What literacy-focused/book-giving organizations do you know and give to? Please share and we’ll update the post.
I love sneaking a peek at your bookshelf and all the great books in it!!
🙂 Thanks, Allie!