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Monfredo: We’re Over the 600K Mark on Book Donations - Time to Read

Saturday, May 26, 2018

 

Thank you Worcester, for “Worcester: the City that Reads” has completed a successful book drive.  We didn’t get our usual 30,000 plus books but we’ll take 25,000 any day!  That total, in thirteen years, now is 605,000 books. Once again we had our citizens stepping up and dropping off books at a number of sites in Worcester.  We had many of the colleges and our public and private high schools conducting their own book drive.  The same can be said for the business sector in our city.

Our hospitals UMass Medical, UMass Memorial, St. Vincent’s Hospital, and Fairlawn Hospital all made significant donations to the drive.  The same can be said of Hanover Insurance, Harvard Pilgrim, Bay State Savings, Berkshire Bank and People’s United Bank.   Other top contributors were Wilson Training Center, Fallon  Clinic, Anne’s-Book Shop, the Girls Scouts, Greendale YMCA,  Jewish Community Center, Worcester Credit Union, Starbucks, Worcester Public Library, Shaws, Stop and Shop, UBS Financial Services, Austin Liquor, the Bagel Inn, the AFL/CIO union, the Northboro Junior Women’s League,  Worcester Railer’s,  Ecotarium, the law firm of Morrison Mahoney LLP,  and a host of other groups within our city.

Top donors for those holding their own book drive on the college level goes to WPI, on the high school level it was Bancroft, and the top donor with over 3000 books was UMass Medical coordinated by staff member Gladys McRell.   New books just off the shelf were donated by Harvard Pilgrim.   Another top contributor was the Northboro Junior Women’s League.  In addition, the Houghlin Mifflin Company, once again, came through with a 5000 book donation.

The top story, however, is that it was a collective effort by the community and we, my wife and I, thank you for your assistance! The books were stored again at the Worcester Technical High School garage site.  Senior custodian at the school, Paul Jarvis, and his crew, were a tremendous help to us and accommodated our need for additional space. We also thank Worcester Public Schools maintenance crew for picking up over 100 cartons of books at our house and at other sites and delivering them to the Worcester Technical High School garage.  A special thank also goes out to my friends George Frascolla and John Marzilli for assisting us in picking up many of the donated books.

As I write this article we are continuing to sort out the many books that we have received.  Over 70 hours of in sorting out the books has taken place as we get them ready for distribution for we still have more sorting to do.  Lending a helping hand in the sorting were students from Worcester Technical High School … Allied Heath and the Plumbing Department,   Doherty High School, South High JROTC and  Burncoat High. In sorting out the books we found 100’s of adult books which will be donated to the Senior Center and to the Adult Learning classes.   We also have a good number of new pre-school books that will go to our “Books for Babies” program and be given to a number of pre-school sites.  Books will also be handed out to the kindergarten children this summer who visit the “Back to School” program held at the Equarium on August 20th.  The bulk of the elementary books collected will go to all the schools to be distributed during “Reading in our City Week” … June 10th  to June 16th for summer reading.

So why are we all excited and what does this mean for the city?  First of all this drive serves as a reminder to all that literacy is essential in the lives of our children.  Those who know how to read, SUCCEED!  Thanks to the generosity of many in the community the book drive will enable us to spread the joy of reading this summer for more access to books results in more reading. We all know that students who read more read better. They also write better, spell better and have larger vocabularies.  A report from the National Institute of Education concluded “…the amount of reading done out of school is consistently related to gains in reading achievement.”   

As I have written so many times in the past …The ability to read well is the single best indicator of future economic success – regardless of family background, and it starts by putting books into the hands of our children. Books will also be given to various programs in grade 7 and 8, high school students, AVID, ELL programs,  Special Education, the book station at city hall and for various groups to use for summer reading. We will also reach out to other social agencies to give them books for their summer programs.

We have started the reading process going but we can’t do it alone.  We know that reading is most effective when parents or family members can provide reading guidance and to make sure that our students understand what they are reading. Parents, you are the key this summer. For most parents, it's a challenge to keep kids reading and writing all summer. My advice is to pick just one thing a week to kick start your week's literacy adventures but include a wide range of literacy fun for the whole family. Be sure to embrace the theme of having your child read each day for 20 minutes for remember reading time does not take a vacation. More on this topic of summer reading in another article in GOLOCAL later.

 

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