Studies show nearly two-thirds of low-income families own no books for their children, yet book ownership is one of the strongest predictors of future reading success. To prevent the resulting achievement gap, on September 11th Sheltering Arms Early Education & Family Centers will launch Operation StoryBook, a family literacy initiative that begins children’s love of reading in the cradle. Corporate and community volunteers, VIPs, and professional storytellers will share stories with infants, toddlers, and preschoolers during a day-long Read-A-Thon in 17 Sheltering Arms centers across metro Atlanta.
"Ninety percent of children’s brain development occurs in the early years before kindergarten," says Elaine Draeger, President of Sheltering Arms. "Even before they can read, children who grow up in homes rich with printed and spoken word are building skills to become enthusiastic readers."
Operation StoryBook will help families give children this strong start. Anchored by the Children's StoryBook Club, Operation StoryBook will provide 2300 children—most from low-income working families--with 12 new books for their home libraries over the next year. Research-driven curriculum, literacy enrichment activities, and parent storytelling workshops will then bring these books alive for Sheltering Arms’ children and their families.
"For many of us, the values we hold most dear are those we learned through stories…stories shared by family, stories heard in worship, stories read in books," says Rob Cleveland of August House, an Atlanta publisher of children's books. "With our mobile society, children often don’t hear the stories of older generations that in the past taught lessons about character, culture, and community. Operation StoryBook builds children into readers, but it does much more. It turns parents into storytellers." August House’s title, The Archer and the Sun, a Chinese folktale that explains the rising and setting of the sun, is Operation StoryBook's September StoryBook Club selection. On September 11, 2300 children will receive a copy of The Archer and the Sun for their home library.
Operation StoryBook is presented by Target, and sponsored by PFG Milton's, Cousins Properties, State Street Global Advisors, Alston & Bird, The Coca-Cola Company, Hollis & Company, Wachovia, and DLA Piper. As a warm-up to the festivities on Friday, on Wednesday, September 9, sponsors and other friends of Sheltering Arms will gather for the CockTales and Legends reception to kick-off Operation StoryBook. The Lovett School will be honored as this year's Sheltering Arms Legends Award winner, in honor of more than 40 years of volunteer service.The community is invited to participate in Operation StoryBook by volunteering, donating books, or sponsoring a child. Information is available on the Sheltering Arms website.
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