Read More Books


Read More Books!

“I Have A Dream” Foundation® – Richmond has championed reading as a cornerstone of our program since we began working with elementary school students in the City of Richmond, Virginia in 2007.  We have brought guest readers to the classrooms, held novel studies after school, sponsored reading/book report incentive programs, brought visiting authors to the school, implemented and utilized Accelerated Reader (a web-based reading comprehension program) and given thousands of books to students to take home. We began work at one elementary school with one grade level and have slowly expanded to include the entire school, then multiple schools, and most recently, system-wide and beyond.  In partnership with First Book, we have been able to give every elementary school student in the City of Richmond a book for their home library on two occasions.  We have also expanded to include ten schools in nearby Henrico County.  Over the past six years, “I Have A Dream” Richmond has distributed 100,000 books!

Click here to watch the special feature on "I Have a Dream" Foundation - Richmond's participation in distributing books in Henrico County

Screenshot from feature. Copyright HCPS TV 2011.

The importance of building a home library is compelling.  Over forty percent of children in the United States live in low-income households, with few age-appropriate books.  Research by Richard Allington and Anne McGill-Franzen of the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, focused on summer reading as a way to close the reading achievement gap between low-income and more affluent families.  Their conclusion in an article published in April 2008 in the magazine Educational Leadership stated that “We must find ways to put books into all students’ hands during the summer months – and all other school vacations as well.”  Studies conducted by First Book found that “high interest” in reading tripled among children who were recipients of new books from their program.  A recent study commissioned by Reading Is Fundamental entitled “Children’s Access to Print Material and Education-Related Outcomes” found that the availability of print materials improves reading performance, is instrumental in learning the basics of reading, results in children reading more and for longer periods of time, and improves attitudes toward reading and learning.

It takes many resources to acquire age-appropriate books, organize them and distribute to the schools, and there are many ways you can help.  Cash donations are always welcome.  You could sponsor a class, grade level or school.  You can also donate your time, assisting with administrative preparatory tasks, delivering books to schools or handing them to the students.  Join us in encouraging young scholars to “Read More Books”!

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Volunteers process books at Boushall Middle School for the first City-wide distribution.

Students receive books at Swansboro Elementary School. Richmond CitySchool Superintendent Dr. Yvonne Brandon says the "Read More Books" initiative represents the best type of school-community partnership.

Paula Roop, Henrico Education Foundation Program Manager, greets "I Have A Dream" Foundation - Richmond staff along with Dumbarton Elementary students and principal Eileen Traveline, to receive summer reading books.