Sheltering Arms, Georgia’s largest nonprofit early education and child care organization, is preparing for its annual week-long read-a-thon and is inviting the community to participate by reading to a class or making a donation to help children get new books for home.
The read-a-thon is part of Operation Storybook, Sheltering Arm’s year-round literacy program that also includes a monthly book distribution. The effort, launched nearly 10 years ago, was in response to Reading Is Fundamental’s research finding that two-thirds of America’s children living in poverty have no books at home and that the number of families living in poverty is on the rise.
Every year, Sheltering Arms hosts the read-a-thon and invites corporate and community volunteers, professional storytellers and special VIP guests to share stories with children at all 15 locations around metropolitan Atlanta. During the week of April 24-28, Sheltering Arms children will listen to volunteers read from their favorite childhood books, act out stories, and participate in various activities that help bring the books to life.
“Children learn literacy and language skills long before they are able to read or speak,” said Blythe Keeler Robinson, Sheltering Arms’ President and CEO. “Operation Storybook is a fun way to generate awareness around early literacy and involve the community in getting children interested and excited about reading.”
According to Reading Is Fundamental, children who do not have access to books and do not read regularly are among some of the most vulnerable Americans, in terms of social outcomes. To combat this challenge and emphasize the importance of early literacy, Sheltering Arms provides all 2,400 children, 90% of whom receive financial assistance, with a new age-appropriate book each month for their own home libraries.
Sheltering Arms has provided high-quality early education, child care and comprehensive family support services since 1888. The agency serves more than 3,600 children annually and their families at 15 metropolitan Atlanta locations in Cobb, DeKalb, Douglas, Fulton and Gwinnett counties and consistently meets accreditation standards by the National Association for the Education of Young Children. On average, children attending Sheltering Arms score in the 90th percentile for language and literacy, exceeding developmental milestones for kindergarten readiness. Visit http://www.shelteringarmsforkids.com for more information.
Keisha A. Simmons