November 20, 2019

Today's discussion focuses on literacy. We revisit, Books Are Wings, a nonprofit in Providence, Rhode Island working to put books in the hands of children.  Later in the show, Bruce Gale brings us the second part of an interview with one of our Kid Heroes, Tabitha Hill.

All across America, children from low-income communities are entering kindergarten without the basic early literacy necessary to succeed. These children enter the school system behind their more affluent peers and are unable to catch up.

For many parents — especially those, who are at a socio-economic disadvantage and struggle to make ends meet — helping their children succeed in school may prove to be quite challenging.  

1 in 4 children in America grow up without learning how to read.  Students who don't read proficiently by the 3rd grade are 4 times likelier to drop out of school. 

Forty-five percent of children in the United States live in low-income households. Most of these children have no age-appropriate books at home, and the classrooms and programs are under-resourced...approximately two-thirds cannot afford to buy books at retail prices. Many public and school libraries are being forced to close or reduce their operating hours. Children who do not have access to books and do not read regularly are among the most vulnerable.

And this brings us to Books Are Wings...

Books Are Wings, a nonprofit in Providence, Rhode Island, celebrated their 20th anniversary this year.  They are on a mission to put free books in the hands of children throughout the state. They believe every child should experience the joy of reading and envision every child in Rhode Island with access to quality reading experiences and books. Research suggests that growing up in a home with at least 20 books is associated with 3 additional years of schooling for children. @BooksAreWings

Their 6th Annual Gift of Literacy Program kicks off tomorrow, November 21, with a reception.  Last year, they gave away 67,899 books to children and families all over the state of Rhode Island.  

In July of this year, to celebrate 20 years of getting FREE books into the hands of children, Senator Jack Reed shared a message of support for Books Are Wings 20th anniversary celebration.

While in Providence, Rhode Island earlier, Adrian visited the nonprofit Books Are Wings, and talked with Jocelynn White, the Director, about their programs.

Tabitha Bell
Tabitha Bell

Today’s Kid Hero is Tabitha Bell, a seventeen-year-old girl with a debilitating form of muscular dystrophy. Since her diagnosis in fourth grade, she struggled endlessly with physically getting around. After seven surgeries on both legs and her spine, she still suffered from severe balance and strength deficits.  Her life changed when her parents purchased her trained service dog Sunny.  She now attends Berkley.  With her own experience as inspiration, she decided to found Pawsitive Pawsibilities in order to raise funds to train and place service dogs with other children.  @pawsitivepawsibilities

On today’s segment, Bruce Gale brings us Part 2 of an interview with our earlier Kid Hero, Tabitha, to talk about her efforts help change the lives of others.