New literacy program looking for books

1000x5 promotes reading together for healthy childhood development

Reading to children from a young age has a positive impact on their development.

That’s not likely a statement that anyone is going to argue, and the Campbell River Literacy Association (CRLA) is hoping the community will help them help more people in our community have that positive impact on their children this year and into the future.

A new initiative by the CRLA, called 1000×5, is launching during Family Literacy Week this year (Jan. 24 to 30), but they need help to make it a success.

Actually, all they need is a stack of your old children’s books.

“We’re trying to gather up children’s books that maybe your kids don’t read anymore but are still in good enough shape to be passed on to someone else,” says CRLA 1000×5 program coordinator, Jenn Bergen.

There are drop-off bins at all the schools in the district, as well as the public library downtown, where people can drop off their used books. Bergen will then be picking them up and hauling them back to Robron Centre where volunteers will help sort them into age categories, clean them and place them in gift bags to go to the local social service providers who can then distribute them to those in need.

There will also be a drop box for books at the CRLA’s free community presentation of Charlotte Diamond in concert at the Tidemark Theatre, which wraps up Family Literacy Week on Jan. 30.

“The point is just to have more families reading with their children,” Bergen says. “Statistics show an increase in children’s vocabulary of about 6,000 words by the time they start kindergarten if they’ve been read to.”

And Bergen says that an increased vocabulary makes the world a much easier place to navigate.

The world is a frustrating place for a child when they can’t properly communicate how they feel, what they want or the difficulties they’re experiencing, so the more words a child knows early in life, the better, she says.

Isn’t 1,000 books a pretty big ask of people? It sounds like a big commitment.

“There are 1,825 days in five years,” Bergen replies simply. She just knows that number.

So 1,000 books is just a bit more than one book every other day, on average.

And Bergen says the term “book” is a bit misleading.

“We’re just saying people should read with their kids 1,000 times by the time they’re in school,” Bergen smiles. Whether they’re reading a full book – likely a “board book” with just a few words per page – or a chapter of a longer work, or a few pages of a novel. What’s important is that their children are hearing and learning the words.

“Personally, I love the idea,” she beams.

“I loved reading with my kids. I think that all families should get to enjoy that experience. Just because maybe someone can’t afford books, doesn’t mean they shouldn’t have that opportunity,” she says enthusiastically, which is probably why the CRLA put her in charge of the program.

Anyone interested in volunteering to help out with the program, either in transporting books, sorting or packaging for distribution, or would like more information about the program should contact bergen at 250-923-1275 or by email at info@literacyforall.ca