I recently had a star-struck moment when volunteering with JLW New Members, JLW Sustainer, Diane Berinstein; and JLW Treasurer, Jennie Kronthal, at the Society for the Prevention of Blindness' American Girl Fashion Show and Tea fundraiser. There, just a few feet away from me and the young models I was in charge of for the day was one of my childhood literary heros-- Valerie Tripp.
Thankfully Valerie is a very sweet woman who graciously accepted my gushing and stammering over how she "made me a reader" as a young girl. Her stories of Molly, Felicity, and Samantha's adventures in historical times captivated me as a young girl and, judging by the thrones of young girls and their parents at the new American Girl store in Tyson's, many other young girls "readers" as well.
I am certain that you all have favourite authors from when you were young who you enjoyed reading. You probably also have wonderful memories of reading with your parents or older siblings/cousins. My parents and I used to read together every night before I went to bed and slowly progressed from books like "The Golden Egg" (my first book) and "Blueberries for Sal" to "The Bobsy Twins", "Babysitters Club" series, and of course, Valerie Tripp's American Girl stories. Now, I am a full-force Kindle addict and read about one book each week (full-time consulting gig and JLW activities permitting!)
Unfortunately, far too many children in our country do not have the same childhood memories. Only 1 home out of every 10 homes living in poverty have an adult who can read aloud to child. When I think about what an influence my early reading years were with my parents, I shudder to think the long-lasting impact not having been read aloud to could have on a child.
In the spirit of the New Year, our JLW mission focus of Literacy, and efforts by many DC organizations to help children develop their own literacy skills, the JLW Literacy Event Planning Committee is kicking off 2012 with a brand-new event aimed at promoting literacy with DC children in one of the simplest ways… reading aloud. We will be visiting programs, schools, libraries, and book stores throughout the month of January to read and facilitate “discussion” activities with kids and encouraging them to make a New Year’s resolution to read more. At month’s end, we will quantify just how much the JLW was able to read aloud in just one month’s time.
We are thrilled to be partnering with local organizations who also likewise committed to promoting literacy with DC kids such as the YMCA, the DC Public Library, Excel Academy, the Washington Jesuit Academy, the Rosemont Center, Bright Beginnings, St. Ann's Infant and Maternity Home, Early Head Start, the Boys and Girls Club, and The Fishing School - J.O Wilson for the first ever JLW Resolution Read. Stay tuned to the JLW website each week for an update on where the JLW Resolution Readers will be headed. You can join in the fun yourself by reading aloud with the young people in your own life. Together, we can turn our reading resolution into a reading revolution in 2012!