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from The Buffalo News

Books For Kids 

Having books in the home encourages reading and the lifelong love of learning.

Books for Kids drive is changing lives

Margaret Sullivan 

In my childhood home, my mother was in charge of birthday presents and what went under the Christmas tree. And she did it thoughtfully and well, month after month, year after year.

My father, by contrast, rarely got into the gift-giving business. But one Christmas when I was in high school, he came up with a spectacular present for his word-happy daughter: A full set of Shakespeare’s plays — four volumes, bound in red leather. More than three decades later, the books are within my line of vision, on the top shelf of a bookcase in my office. Nowthat was a gift with enduring value.

Two of the best possible gifts for children, I’m convinced, are the love of reading and the presence of books in the home. This is true now, in the Internet Age, every bit as much as it was in the 1970s when I got to know “Hamlet” and “Macbeth.”

In fact, it may be more valuable now than ever, since reading develops a child’s attention span, balancing the effects of the fast-flickering digital world that 21st century children increasingly live in.

Seeing my own children — both teenagers now — reading for pleasure has been one of the great satisfactions of motherhood for me. That’s because I know it has helped them, making them better students, more informed citizens and more interesting people.

I have no doubt that adult success is tied closely to childhood reading. This is true whether a child grows up in an affluent suburb or the inner city. It’s probably more important for those who lack other advantages.

But not every parent, and not every child, has the opportunity to make books — especially one’s own books — a part of everyday life.

In Buffalo, the nation’s second-poorest city, many families simply don’t have the money to buy books. Trips to the public library are wonderful, of course, and irreplaceable. But so is the presence of books that are owned by the family, or better yet, the child.

Study after study has shown that having books in the home encourages reading and the lifelong love of learning.

That’s where an effort called Books for Kids comes in.

[ click to read full article at The Buffalo News ]

Posted on April 21, 2008 by Editor

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