May is upon us, when many of our local churches throughout the conference hold book drives to collect age-appropriate books for elementary school students to take home in an effort to reduce learning loss over the summer months. Local church C4C volunteers coordinate with their partner elementary school teachers, media specialists, counselors, or other staff to get recommendations on book titles, age levels, and even the number of children that would benefit from this service. Of course, we want to focus on low income children who do not have many of the advantages other children might have, but many churches are able to send multiple books home with every child in Kindergarten through third grade — and sometimes every child in the school!
When C4C began several years ago, State Superintendent of Public Instruction June Atkinson had introduced a statewide “Give Five, Read Five” initiative to encourage local churches and civic organizations to provide five new or gently used books for every child to take home at the end of the school year. C4C used that initiative to jump-start spring book drives across the conference. Many of our churches have made this an annual event, and some have expanded it to other times in the year, as well.
K-3 literacy is at the very heart of C4C. Book drives are one way churches can show their commitment to childhood literacy — “learning to read and reading to learn.” We hope that churches throughout our conference will approach their local elementary schools to see if they might accept this gesture of generosity and support — and then shower the children with books!