Supporting our communities during the COVID-19 pandemic

Dear Reader,

Whenever and wherever you read this, we hope you and your loved ones are healthy and well. There is no point in pretending that circumstances aren't tough right now. They are. Thankfully, communities across the nation are coming together to support one another and to keep one another afloat. Thankfully, we have seen so many people turn outwards, with openness and generosity, in order to make the lives of others easier. To those who have turned that kindness toward Books for Kids, we are so grateful. Please know that your efforts are being passed on directly in the form of literacy services to the thousands of children and families we serve.

 

Below is a summary of the ways we are offering support to our communities now that schools and libraries have closed their doors (at least physically and, for some, completely). As we, like our students, teachers, and families, adapt to these difficult times, we hope the support we are able to offer can provide bright spots of happiness and moments of meaningful education despite the challenges of our present circumstances.

In Solidarity,

Your Friends at Books for Kids

Story Time... online

Our schools and students are used to seeing their Library Specialist each week for Lending and Story Time. We have students who refuse to miss school on library day; it's really quite the event! But now that schools are closed, Story Time can't continue as we know it. But that doesn't mean it has to end!

Our team has created a library of over 80 pre-recorded Story Time videos, ever-growing, so that students can continue falling in love with stories each and every week. It's also important for them to continue their relationships with their Library Specialist, a trusted community member in their lives, who they have come to know and depend on. To that end, our Library Specialists have been working closely with teachers to create virtual classroom schedules, and are now a regular part of their students' weekly school routines. 

We also have a regularly scheduled Story Time Live session on Facebook each Friday at 11:00am ET and every other Wednesday at 4:30pm ET.

Books to go!

Schools are closed, and in the communities we serve this doesn't just mean the loss of educational materials and services, but of other essential services like meals for children. For those that are able, we're seeing schools rally to provide meals and other supplies to families at designated times during the week. 

If families are there, we're making sure books are too. We're providing books and encouraging schools to give them away to families who stop by for food and other resources. Having age-appropriate books at home for our PreK students is a vital part of their learning, and the more books at home for the discovery of new stories and rereading, the better!

We have focused a great deal of our current book donation efforts on supporting the children and families living in family homeless shelters. We created three new shelter libraries in partnership with the NYC Department of Homeless Services just last year, and are continuing to support them with literacy programs and new books.

Digital resources and literacy support for families and teachers

Songs, rhymes, reading logs and reading lists...you name it, we've got it or we're working on it! We're sharing reading tips, book activities, and lesson plans with our school communities so that learning can continue at home, even though school is out.  It's vital that two to five year olds continue their educations and explorations of their world.

We've heard directly from our school directors that teachers and families are in great need of these resources, because PreK is not a time of schooling that is easily adapted to online learning in the traditional sense. For those teachers and families struggling with this new challenge, we've got their backs. We're in constant contact with our schools so that we can assist and provide resources as needed.

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2019 The Books for Kids Foundation
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