How important is literacy? Let's put it this way: the prison system bases it's budget planning so many years out on the current year's THIRD GRADE reading scores/abilities. The tie between illiteracy and crime is that tight and it is at third grade when kids who fall behind in reading will most likely stay behind. This is not to say a kid is doomed after that point or that they can't pick up reading later...it is just unlikely that a troubled reader will ever hit grade level if not already there in third grade.
So literacy is extremely important. It is imperative that kids are given the resources to engage in reading and reading related activities. Especially in poor districts, where families cannot afford extras and the school's have so much on their plates already.
Battle of the Books is a book project run by Ms. Inverarity, the librarian at Turner Middle School in Kansas City, KS. The school district is considered high poverty and in order for them to carry out their project, they will need donations from those who understand the importance of literacy and how it can turn a life around.
A description of the project from the site states: "Students that sign up to compete in Battle of the Books will check out copies of books from the school library so they can prepare. The requested books like Out of My Mind and The Trap cover a range of genres, formats, and reading levels. The competition at the end of the school year requires that teams of four be able to answer questions about all eleven books chosen for this year's competition. The students will be reading quality science fiction, realistic fiction, survival fiction, and sports fiction titles that range from a comfortable to a challenging reading level."
If you can and are willing to support Battle of the Books in any way, you can donate at their site Battle of the Books (2013-2014) on donorschoose.org. You can also view the list of books and prices the school will be purchasing. As of this posting, they have $573 to go and ten days left. Their deadline is December 15, 2013. Tis the season to help make this happen!