We’re working with churches to provide books to children who participate in summer lunch programs. This past year, we provided more than 800 T-shirt bags full of books to lunch sites in Parker County, TX, alone.
At the meals sites, volunteers provide varying levels of reading activities for children. At a minimum, kids check out and return books. At the end of the summer, they select books to keep. At the other end of the spectrum, programs provide story hour, activities, and book give-aways throughout the summer. Children fill out book report forms and write about what they’ve read. Some locations give wooden bookcases to kids at a family reading fair at the end of the program, along with a stack of books to go in them.
The purpose of these programs is to feed children’s minds along with their bodies. Kids in poverty are far more likely to lose access to books over the summer than their middle-income peers. Providing books at meals sites keeps kids reading, and keeps them from losing ground academically.