With the help of their members, including Family Connections of Southwest Wisconsin, and community supporters, the Supporting Families Together Association collected more than 5,600 books for Wisconsin children in need during last year’s first Once Upon a Book Drive — more than five times the original goal.
SFTA and Family Connections wants to top that number this year in the second Once Upon a Book Drive through the end of August.
“Having access to books is a crucial aspect of early development,” said Kelly McClurg, SFTA communications specialist. “Reading, listening to and interacting with books, even as an infant, supports language processing, social emotional development, communication skills, and a variety of other developmental milestones that can determine a child’s outcome later in life.”
SFTA will distribute collected books to early education programs and families in need across the state, with the assistance of member Child Care Resource and Referral agencies and Family Resource Centers. Family Connections of Southwest Wisconsin will distribute books locally.
Level of need for receiving books will be based on several criteria set by SFTA to ensure that books go to where they will have the greatest impact. Books donated should be new or gently used and appropriate for children to 12 years old, with an emphasis on infant and toddler books (due to need).
Book donation points are set up at Family Connections of Southwest Wisconsin, 110 W. Adams St., Platteville; the Platteville Public Library, 65 S. Elm St.; and at the Mineral Point Public Library. Books can also be ordered online through AmazonSmile to be shipped directly to SFTA.
Studies show that children from lower-income families are generally less exposed to language stimulation, as you might get from reading a book. This lack of early exposure can lead to significant developmental disparities, with children from lower-income families 6 months behind their more advantaged peers in language understanding and use by the time they are 2 years old. This gap can widen as these children age, and have a notable effect on their future successes in school and career opportunities.
Giving children access to a literacy rich environment early on is a big step in addressing this issue, and is the primary goal of Once Upon a Book Drive. We hope you will join us in achieving this goal for Wisconsin children.
Family Connections of Southwest Wisconsin is a member of Supporting Families Together Association, a non-profit organization funded by public and private entities to support and implement a variety of early childhood focused programs and services. The member association for organizations and individuals committed to making every early childhood a great one has the goal for all children to have the opportunity to reach their highest potential, and that all adults understand their role and responsibilities to children.
More information is available at www.supportingfamiliestogether.org or at www.familyconnectionsswwi.org/.