On June 1st, we attended The Children’s Book Bank’s (CBB) benefit of the year, Tell Me A Story. It was an engaging evening where we got to hear seasoned storytellers tell personal tales based on the prompt “A book that changed my life”. The stories were funny and deeply relatable. More than that, they shone a light on the importance of reading, and how books deeply touch a person’s life.
The CBB is dedicated to bringing those experiences to the children who are least likely to have them. They are committed to eliminating the literacy disparities between socioeconomic groups, and are actively working to provide every local child with a strong foundation through books. Low-income homes have an average of 1 book per 300 children, while middle-income families have an average of 13 books per child. By closing the “book-gap” and the “time-spent-reading” gap, they aim to improve the odds of success for low-income children across Multnomah County.
Research shows that the two most important indicators of academic success in early childhood are being read to as a child, and having books at home. The Children’s Book Bank provides 9,000 children living in poverty with a collection of books to take home and keep, giving them the opportunity to develop the reading skills to become great readers, learners, and citizens.
The storytellers we heard had were touched, changed, and elevated by the books in their lives–whether in childhood or adulthood. The evening served as evidence: with engaging books in the home, children and families build deeper bonds, imaginations soar, and minds are opened to limitless possibilities.