My kids are very fortunate to be exposed to great books, the books we read together for our Kids Book Review section. Our school benefits too as our review books are donated to the school library or classroom libraries for the other children to enjoy. Not all children or schools are as fortunate but Indigo wants to change things will the Love of Reading.
According to a 2013 report from People for Education (pdf), less than 56 percent of Ontario elementary schools have a Teacher-Librarian on staff compared to 80 percent in 1998, and most work part-time. 11 percent of elementary schools have no library staff at all. I know from my own kids that the library and librarian are a central source for learning from gathering material for school projects to selecting books to stock for a child’s joy of reading. I can’t fathom my kids having limited access or no access at all. That’s the case for a number of schools across the country.
Like many parents struggling to ensure their children can master the basics of reading and writing, Indigo believes every student finishing elementary school should leave as a richly literate individual. This is one reason they founded the Indigo Love of Reading Foundation in 2004 to address the underfunding of public elementary school libraries.
Every year the foundation grants $1.5 million to 20 high-needs elementary schools across Canada enabling them to transform their libraries with the purchase of new books and education resources. That’s $16.5 million in grants to more than 2,000 schools since the program’s inception.
I was invited to witness Heather Reisman calling the selected schools to inform them of the news. Hearing the various school principals and teachers speak with such passion for the well-being and potential for their students was moving but their squeals of excitement and choked-up responses brought me to tears. I can feel my eyes welling up as I write this just remembering the moments.
Some of these schools had libraries with books almost 16 years old. Can you imagine your daughter having to write a report on the solar system based on dated material? Or what if your son is looking for more ethnically diverse books or ones that address his current family situation? Sure the Internet is full of knowledge but would you send your eight-year old out in that web to decipher fact from fiction? School Teacher-Librarians can be that guide and the school or classroom libraries their knowledge centre. My kids are always excited when it’s their turn to visit the school library, showing me the book they selected to bring home for personal reading.
If you were to checkout the social media hashtag #IndigoGrantDay you would see the enthusiasm of Indigo employees as well as the gratitude from the selected schools.
— Sara (@silentsara) May 21, 2015
#IndigoGrantDay there are no words to express my gratitude to the foundation to my school! What joy, laughter and tears!!
— Ingrid Tamkin (@ingtamkin) May 21, 2015
— Wilson Middle School (@WilsonMiddleSch) May 21, 2015
We often hear the negative side of large companies but I love that Indigo is using its resources to help children and schools that might be struggling. Building on a child’s love of reading and improving literacy in schools across the country, schools that may not have the financial means, benefits our country’s future. According to the 2012 Pan-Canadian Report: State of Literacy and Essential Skills Fiend, even a one percent improvement in literacy rates nationally would boost Canada’s economy by $32 Billion.
Visit the Indigo Love of Reading Foundation website to learn more about the grant program, discover the schools that will benefit this year and see the impact a program like this has on schools and their students. Here’s a little snippet of this year’s Grant Day excitement:
Any parent who has seen the joy in a child’s eye from reading a book or having a book read to them understands the benefit of supporting our school Teacher-Librarians and school libraries. Thanks to the Indigo Love of Reading Foundation some schools will experience this joy.
This post was sponsored by Indigo but as always my thoughts and experiences are my own.