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The team from Charity Navigator, the nation's largest independent charity evaluator and leading donor advocate, shares their thoughts on emerging nonprofit-sector issues and offers tips to better inform your intelligent giving decisions.

Monday, April 23, 2018

Easy Ways to Celebrate World Book Day 2018


Founded by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), World Book Day celebrates books as “a link between the past and the future, a bridge between generations and across cultures…”

More than 100 countries around the world participate in World Book Day and linking children and families to one another through books and literacy. In honor of this special day, Charity Navigator is sharing some easy ways you can get involved in sharing books and a love of reading in your community and across the globe.


Donate a Book

...or two!

Your old books could be the keys that unlock new worlds for children in your community or around the world. 

Often, local organizations accept used books for clients and their families. You can use Charity Navigator’s Advanced Search Tool to find a charity in your community. Reach out to them first and make sure they’re able to accept your donation.

You can also work with an organization that has an established book collection program. Charities, like the ones listed below, collect new and used books that in good condition and distribute them in communities around the world.

☆☆☆ + Impact
Sharing stories changes lives, especially young lives

The mission of Make Way for Books is to give all children the chance to read and succeed. In 1998, Make Way for Books' founder Dr. Mary Jan Bancroft answered a newspaper listing to read to four-year-olds at a preschool in Tucson. Mary Jan found that this center did not have age-appropriate, quality picture books. Deciding to explore this need further, Mary Jan found that most of the childcare centers serving economically-disadvantaged children had few to zero quality books for young children. That same year, Mary Jan founded Make Way for Books (MWFB) to meet this incredible need and began providing books to under-resourced sites and offering early literacy workshops for educators and parents. Today, MWFB has provided services to nearly 300 preschools and childcare centers. Each year, MWFB serves more than 30,000 children and families and 700 educators.

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Transforming lives through reading, writing, and the GIVING power of used books

Open Books transforms lives through reading, writing, and the GIVING power of used books. Through our nonprofit social venture model, we operate two retail bookstores in the West Loop and Pilsen that help to fund our literacy and book granting programs. Each year, Open Books brings the joy of literacy to 4,500 youth through experienced educators and volunteers, safe learning environments, and access to tailored curricula and books. Our literacy programs ignite a passion for the written word and introduce students to new ways of expressing themselves. Through our book granting programs, we donate more than 130,000 books to youth and under-resourced communities across Chicago.

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Working to end the book famine in Africa

Founded in 1988, Books for Africa (BFA) collects, sorts, ships, and distributes books to children in Africa. Our goal is to end the book famine in Africa. Books donated by publishers, schools, libraries, individuals, and organizations are sorted and packed by volunteers who carefully choose books that are age and subject appropriate. We send good books, enough books for a whole class to use. Since 1988, Books For Africa has shipped more than 35 million books to 48 African countries. They are on once-empty library shelves, in classrooms in rural schools, and in the hands of children who have never before held a book. Each book will be read over and over again. When the books arrive, they go to those who need them most: children who are hungry to read, hungry to learn, hungry to explore the world in ways that only books make possible.

Support a Highly-Rated Literacy Charity

You can also support new readers through a highly-rated organization promoting and expanding literacy to children and families. The organizations below have well-established programs and earn top marks from Charity Navigator.

☆☆☆ + Impact
A child’s path to a brighter future is paved with books

Ferst Readers makes a difference in the lives of children through the gift of literacy, with the mission to "provide books for local communities to prepare preschool children for reading and learning success." Ferst Readers addresses the growing problem of children from low-income families entering school unprepared to learn with a simple recipe for early literacy development. Ensure that children have age-appropriate books in the home and provide parents with literacy resources that reinforce the importance of early learning and encourage them to read frequently with their children. By mailing a new book every month to enrolled children, birth to five, Ferst Readers is committed to providing early learning opportunities with the hope of breaking the cycle of poverty and illiteracy. Our vision is to afford the best chance for every child to succeed in school, and in life, and to help create an educated, productive and competitive workforce.

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Linking neighborhood resources to ensure that young readers are good readers

Literacy, Inc. (LINC), founded in 1996, is based on two beliefs: all children can read given enough one-on-one support and every neighborhood has strengths and resources that can be coordinated to support early literacy. LINC works with communities to: develop a dynamic and sustainable network of community activities that achieve unified literacy success; help organizations, community leaders, and others to understand the many ways they can support young children as readers; encourage families and other community members to be increasingly engaged as reading partners to young children; create a perceptible shift in the community belief that all its neighborhood children will read on time with community support; and ensure a literacy rich community that will contribute to the success of children entering school by ensuring that they are ready to learn and read on time.

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Helping teachers deliver effective literacy instruction

Children's Literacy Initiative (CLI), founded in 1988, works with Pre-K to 3rd grade teachers to transform instruction so that all children can become powerful readers and writers. CLI delivers coaching and training to educators who work in under-resourced, under-performing schools and preschools, equipping them with high-impact literacy instruction techniques and high-quality children's literature. In 2010, CLI received a highly competitive $21.7M Validation grant from the U.S. Department of Education's Investing in Innovation (i3) Fund to implement its program in 38 schools. In 2015, using study results from this project validating CLI's ability to improve teacher practice and student reading achievement, CLI won a $19M i3 Scale-up grant to expand into 27 new public schools. CLI recently won the 2017 David M. Rubenstein Prize, the top honor in the Library of Congress Literacy Awards program for making outstanding and measurable contributions in increasing literacy across the country.

Remember, you can use Charity Navigator’s Advanced Search Tool to find even more highly-rated organizations promoting literacy

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