Eight years of Rotarians reading!

Through a partnership with Book’em since 2009, we have significantly impacted our community’s children. In this ongoing volunteer project, Rotarians read and give books to elementary children. Each volunteer is assigned a classroom, and independently schedules five classroom visits per academic year.

Over seven years, roughly 350 Rotarians gave 5,200 volunteer hours to our literacy project. Rotarians read with 6,300 children, and gave away almost 1,800 books. Initially, our volunteers filled classrooms in ½ of an elementary school. We are now in our 8th year, with 60 Rotarian readers covering one and a half elementary schools!

This project is more than free books. When a Rotarian visits a classroom, the children encounter a role model. Throughout the year, we build a relationship with our students. We encourage them and demonstrate the fun of reading. Children choose their own book to keep, and all books are brand new.

Children in lower income families own fewer books than children from higher socioeconomic groups. If these children are proficient readers, their high school graduation rates are the same as their more affluent peers. By reading to children, and giving them books, Rotarians provide an opportunity for success, regardless of background.

Most volunteer opportunities are scheduled, group activities. Book’em is different- it’s DIY. This project allows for flexible scheduling, accommodating life’s busy demands. Book’em provides an easy ‘one-stop-shop’ where volunteers select books to give away, grab something to read aloud to the class, and find a variety of helpful literacy resources. The investment of time is small compared to the reward we reap!