By putting books in hands of kids, you’re helping our region succeed

Two Modesto children review some of the books available for sale at a book fair at the library. A book fair on Wednesday will help provide crucial funds for the Stanislaus READS program
Two Modesto children review some of the books available for sale at a book fair at the library. A book fair on Wednesday will help provide crucial funds for the Stanislaus READS program The Modesto Bee

Kids in Stanislaus County are falling behind in reading, and Friends of the Modesto Library has a plan to help.

By the end of third grade, 61 percent of Stanislaus County students do not read at “grade level,” which means they’re set up to fall even further behind every year thereafter. This is a problem for everyone – children who fall behind are more likely to leave school early, struggle throughout their educational careers and have fewer opportunities as adults.

The good news is several organizations in our county are doing something to reverse this trend.

Our county library has a great school readiness initiative that helps prepare children for kindergarten by encouraging families to read to them at a young age. And the Stanislaus READS! initiative – spearheaded by the Stanislaus Community Foundation and 23 others community organizations and businesses, including The Modesto Bee – focuses efforts from across the county to work on five goals to ensure the critical milestone that every child is reading at grade level by third grade.

One of Stanislaus READS’ many strategies is to expand a free book distribution program being piloted at five schools in five different districts.

These programs can’t succeed without the help of community members. Friends of the Modesto Library is a nonprofit organization that supports the mission of the Modesto Library. This includes supporting its school readiness initiative, donating books to children who may otherwise have none, and driving awareness of local events that contribute to the cause. You can help.

This week you can directly impact our kids’ education by through the Scholastic Book Fair sponsored by the Friends of the Modesto Library.

First, you’ll be buying books which will enrich the lives of children around you.

Second, you’ll have an opportunity to buy books to donate to agencies such as Children’s Crisis Center, LearningQuest, Haven Women’s Center, Hutton House, Parent Resource Center, Red Shield Center, and Redwood Family Center, which share them with children they serve.

And third, the proceeds from this event will go toward purchasing hundreds of books which will go directly to kids during the Modesto Library’s annual El día de los niños/El día de los libros (Children’s Day/Book Day) event in April.

Donors and participants in events like this are the reason Stanislaus County can continue to fight for our children’s literacy. You can make a difference in the education of local students and help set them up for success throughout their lives by getting involved.

Ellen Dambrosio is the membership director of Friends of the Modesto Library.

Scholastic Book Fair

What: Scholastic Wild West Book Fair

When: Wednesday, Nov. 8, from 3 to 7 p.m.; Thursday, Nov. 9, from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m.; Saturday, Nov. 11, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Clifford the Big Red Dog will appear Saturday at 1:30 p.m.

Where: Modesto Library Auditorium, 1500 I Street.

Who: Friends of the Modesto Library, a 501 (c)(3) nonprofit supporting the library and its programs.

Why: In support of community literacy and the library’s programs.

If you can’t make it to the book fair, you can donate directly to Friends of the Modesto Library at https://sites.google.com/a/modestolibraryfriends.org/www/. For more information, contact Ellen Dambrosio, membership@modestolibraryfriends.org