Books for Keeps AACF Spotlight

At Books for Keeps, we believe providing children with open, equal access to books allows them to connect the joy of reading with the thrill of discovery, laying the foundation for a successful, fulfilling life. We work in service of this belief every day by placing books into the hands of Georgia students who may not otherwise have books in their homes.

Our primary program is a research-based effort to end “summer slide,” the learning loss suffered by many children when they are away from school. Children from low-income families are disproportionately affected by this loss, often due to a simple lack of access to books. Unaddressed, this learning loss compounds, and children without access to books may fall  as many as three grade levels behind their peers by middle school, negatively affecting their chances of graduating from high school.

Each spring, in 18 schools, Books for Keeps sets up a giant book fair, inviting every student in grades K through 5 to select 12 books each—for free! These books are new, high-quality, high-interest books that we spend 11 months of the year collecting from book drives, purchasing from donated and grant funds, and sorting with volunteers. Since 2009, we have given away more than 450,000 books to children in grades Pre-K through 12.

We have evidence that this program is advancing reading skills during summer, using student testing data and the help of UGA researchers. But no amount of data touches our hearts and inspires us to reach higher like the notes we receive each year from parents, teachers, and students themselves:

“My son Thomas gets so excited about this day and enthusiastically shares his selections with us at the end of the day. He even picked out something for his little sister. It was heart-warming to watch them as they looked through stacks of books and discussed their favorites.” -Katherine F.

“My 4th grade daughter was thrilled, as always, to come home with her 12 books. She also commented that before Books for Keeps happened this year, some of her classmates would say ‘I don’t want to have reading time.’ But now they say, ‘Oh good, I get to read my new books!’ Not only do you provide these kids with reading for over the summer, it gets them excited to read!! Thank you for your efforts!” -Kelly M.

Books for Keeps has been able to grow and inspire students because of support from the communities we serve. Our organization is committed to finding a sponsor for every single child. At just $30 a child, even a very small donation has high impact in our organization. Imagine: $30 builds a home library for one child, keeping them reading all summer, and $600 sponsors an entire class of 20 students. You can support children in this community by volunteering, donating books, donating funds, becoming a sponsor, hosting a book drive, or just spreading the word. Your contributions will make a difference in the life of a child – 12 books at a time.

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