One of the awesome parts about the Disney Social Media Moms Celebration is that it is an amazing experience for attendees on so many different levels. We pay out conferences fees to attend, but we get so much more out of it, special benefits and treats throughout the weekend. And some of those treats are all about how Disney is working to give back, which warms my heart. This time around, we were treated to LeVar Burton from Reading Rainbow (and Star Trek: The Next Generation) reading to us and to our children as part of the Give A Book, Get A Book program.
Reading is critical. It gives so many life skills from expanding your horizons to giving you vocabulary that will get you further in life to helping you use context to decode the world around you. I’m lucky that the wee ones have inherited my love of books, and we have access to more books than they could read in their lifetime, though they’re doing their best to prove me wrong. That isn’t the case for every child, and both Disney Junior and the First Book program are aware of that sad fact.
It’s the case even in my school district where one elementary school is working to set up a library so that students there can have something to read at home, a luxury they don’t enjoy today. When books aren’t around, it’s hard for them to become important. First Book is working to change this, and Disney Junior is partnering with the in the Give A Book, Get A Book program that runs through September 30, 2015. It breaks my heart that this program has to exist, but the statistics are staggering.
Price is the number one factor in preventing access to books for children. When you’re choosing between putting food in your child’s mouth and buying books, where will your money go? In low income areas, there is 1 book for 300 children. How can that be? I have well over 300 books just in my house alone. Easily. Disney Junior will donate up to 1 million books during this time.
How? It’s easy. Whenever you purchase one of the specially marked Disney Junior books or products, whether at the Disney Store or a bookstore, your receipt or the packaging will have a special code that you can enter on the Give A Book, Get A Book website. Special bookmarks, like the one I received will also be handed out at participating public libraries and Radio Disney events this summer, so keep an eye out!
You can choose one of 10 books to donate, and there are both Spanish and English versions, some that are read aloud and some that have audio recordings with them. I chose a Spanish Diego book, knowing that Little MIss will enjoy reading it and that in our area, it is the native Spanish speaking students who have the least access to books they can enjoy.
After that, just select what region of the country you want to donate the book to, and you are done. You’ll receive an email confirmation that will provide you with your own digital copy of the book that you can read and enjoy, so it’s a complete win win!
Reading is important, and it’s the number one factor in the future success of our children. Hats off to LeVar Burton for all his hard work over the years with Reading Rainbow. For me, it brings back so many wonderful memories, and his voice and actions make the books so enjoyable and unthreatening for the most reluctant readers. We were lucky enough to hear Henry and the Dragon – LeVar’s favorite book, and it reminds me once again just how important reading is when I see the children surrounding him, absolutely rapt with attention, focused completely on what might happen next.
I’m smiling, even as I’m typing this, humming the Reading Rainbow theme song that will never be forgotten by me. This is why my gift of choice for birthdays is a book. Because a love of reading should always be encouraged.