This year, the need for books is crucial as more students learn remotely during the pandemic.
Here at WSFL-TV, we’ve partnered with the Miami-Dade Head Start and the Early Learning Coalition of Broward County to put books in the hands of children in our community who need them the most.
For Naadirah Strong and Malika Robertson reading is an adventure and an escape from being stuck at home.
“I read [Norman] 10 times because it’s my favorite book,” said Naadirah.
“I like Curious George, I like how he’s so curious,” said Malika Robertson, 7 years old.
“To give a child a book is invaluable for the rest of their lives,” said Debbi Palmisano, owner and director of Greater Horizons Academy.
Debbi says kids who grow up with books in their homes have a major advantage over children who do not.
“They’re more likely to graduate, to vote and to be civically involved. You don’t necessarily relate that to reading a book but you’re setting themselves up in the literacy to be responsible and to be thinkers,” said Debbi.
“My child being surrounded by a book will expand their vocabulary, I also think it will open up their mind,” said Domonique Guase, mother of three.
Studies show learning to read at an early age is a true predictor of future success.
Mother of three, Domonique Gause, says reading to her children has helped them become more social.
“She was a little delayed, she was born early so I was always afraid [because] she’s very quiet. But since I’ve been reading to her and pointing things out to her I just notice her vocabulary is starting to expand. You can show her something and she’ll point to it. She’ll even go get the book herself if she wants me to read it to her, said Domonique.
Debbi recommends parents should read to their children at least 20 minutes a day.
“Don’t place it all on the teachers. Yes they’re read to and we can encourage that but when it’s in the home and they have that example in front of them, it’s just so vital,” said Debbi.
This is one of the 10 classrooms at Bricks Early Learning Center in Homestead. Each room has a book shelf. These books playing a crucial part in every child’s life.
“It helped them not only develop skills to interact with other children but develop skills to make sure they understand and help communicate at such a young age,” said Julie Cruz, mother of two.
“When he started school, he wants to read more at home. So that really helped him develop and understand certain things,” said Wisny Nedirect, father.
Studies show a child who can’t read at grade level by third grade is four times less likely to graduate from high school.
“If a child is not able to express themselves with their letter sounds, reading and putting sentence together, it’s a drawback for them,” said Nicole Rodriguez, Founder & Director of Bricks Early Learning Center.
Nicole Rodriguez is the founder and director of Bricks. She says after the school closed due to COVID-19 back in March, books were donated to underserved families to help students stay on their reading path.
“Not every family was ready to entertain and engage their children in appropriate academic activities and so there’s been a big need to have extra books at home,” said Michelle Toral, Head Start Section Manager, Miami-Dade CAHSD.
But with the help of The Scripps Howard Foundation’s “If You Give A Child A Book” campaign, we can make a difference in a child’s life in Miami-Dade County.
“The more books children have access to, the brighter their futures are,” said Stephanie Zuniga, mother of three.
Please join us in our mission to empower children in need with literacy tools they need to be successful in school and in life. If you’d like to learn more about the campaign or make a donation, head to wsfltv.com/giveabook. Any amount helps, just five dollars will put a book in the hands of a local child in need.