Belzona Joins Forces with “Read to Learn /Books for Free” Initiative
In our often hectic lives, we covet any chance we get to sit down with a good book and read; much like we did when we were younger. However, for some children who struggle with their reading, this precious gift becomes an unwanted challenge and even a chore. Staying true to our commitment to give back to our community, Belzona has signed on to be a part of the ‘Read to Learn / Books for Free’ story. Our office in Miami Lakes, Florida, has been collecting books for children in order to help with the initiative started by The Children’s Trust.
Administered by The Children’s Trust, The Miami-Dade Family Learning Partnership & The Early Learning Coalition of Miami-Dade/Monroe, the initiative seeks to increase the number of eight to nine year olds who read at, or above, their age grade level. The goal of this program is especially pressing when statistics show that 88% of children who never graduate high school were poor readers at age eight or nine. In addition, this is compounded further by the fact that, on average, high school dropouts earn less than half of that earned by college graduates.
This multi-year initiative is looking to improve reading rates by placing bookshelves full of free books in locations where parents and children visit together often. Among those locations are clinics and doctors’ offices, the Juvenile Justice Center, and Community Service Centers, which are but a few of the 40 locations established in the first year of the program.
Moreover, as a part of the Read to Learn/Books for Free program, The Children’s Trust has partnered with The Center for Writing and Literature at Miami Dade College, in an effort to provide reading material for children throughout Miami-Dade County. The aim is to encourage parents to partake in instilling good reading habits with suggestions and tips such as:
- Read together, every day, for at least 20-30 minutes
- Select books with faces, animals, and objects you can point to and talk about
- Read with fun in your voice by using different voices for different characters
- Answer your child’s questions, whilst posing your own and listening to your child’s responses
- Point out print everywhere. Talk about the words you see all around you and ask your child to find a new word every time you go out together.
- Limit computer and television time
- Visit the public library to read and borrow books together
- Create your own home library of children’s books
Yulia Burova, Belzona’s representative for the initiative, said “The entire Belzona Family is grateful to be a part of such an initiative that seeks to ensure that every child has the educational tools and opportunities to excel. We strongly believe in the power of knowledge, and we believe that it is never too early to begin learning. We applaud and thank the organizers of the ‘Read to Learn / Books for Free’ program, for taking such an active role in the future of our youth.
“We are happy to be contributing to the efforts of this initiative that invests in the improvement of children’s lives, and in their future. And we are happy that our book drive has successfully collected new or gently used books brought in by our dedicated Belzona team and placed into the bins provided. Let’s get collecting!”