Periodically, the Little Hands Book Bank gives interviews to college students who are practicing media writing skills for class. The story below was written in the fall of 2016.
By Trenten Nunez
Little Hands Book Bank (LHBB) has started a new nonprofit in the Dallas, Texas, area for kids who don’t have books in their homes to read. LHBB believes that kids need to be reading at home to help increase their reading skills. There are many households in low income areas that don’t have a single book for their children to read. The organization has made efforts to show the importance of reading to kids and to find ways to provide books.
LHBB is located in and primarily helping the Dallas area community. In 2012, Little Hands Book Bank, was designated as a 501(c)(3) non-profit. This organization is working on the logistics of preparing for their first large donation.
The organization has created accounts on social media platforms such as Facebook, and has also been publicized in articles in the news. Donations can be made by anyone who wants to help and donate books. The books need to be in good condition and consisting of picture books, alphabet books, rhyming books, story books and books in Spanish for ages 0-6.
“This provides a way for anyone and everyone to give back,” said Jennifer Little, Board Member of Little Hands Book Bank.
The non-profit organization was created to give underprivileged kids exposure to books and reading before they start school. The purpose of the organization is to provide kids with books that they can have and read at home.
“So all children can experience the joy of reading and be better prepared for kindergarten,” said Little.
Studies by Alvarado ISD have shown that the children in lower-income households have lower reading levels than those in middle-class homes. The lower-income households also report not having any books for their children to be reading. The importance for households to assist their children in reading at home has been emphasized by LHBB and local school districts.
There are many other organizations that are assisting families on reading improvements for children. There are several book drives and book banks in every area of DFW. There are families who have not reached out for help or are not aware of the reading concerns. The correlation between low-income households and lower reading levels exists, according to Dr. Lori Nunez, Director of Special Programs for Alvarado ISD.
“Reading is such a necessity for all core content and to ensure that higher levels of learning are happening. Children need to practice their reading skills continuously while young, in order to be strong adult learners,” said Dr. Nunez.
Dr. Nunez has implemented a reading initiative for children during the summer months. It is known as, “Mobile Library”, and is supported by Alvarado ISD. The Mobile Library utilizes a school bus and delivers books to children during summer vacation. The Mobile Library is available to those students attending the Alvarado ISD.
The students are allowed to check out books the same way that they do during the school year from their campus’ libraries. The children can check out books and return them a week later when the bus returns. The books available are limited since the Mobile Library cannot transport the entire book selection from each campus.
“This previous summer was our first time doing the Mobile Library and it went well,” said Dr. Nunez. “This winter break, we hope to have a much better turnout each week, with even more books donated from Half Price Books.”
Dr. Nunez is responsible for many of the reading programs done for Alvarado ISD. She has analyzed research on her students and their families. She explains that there is a connection between lower-income households and lower reading levels. There is research done from most school districts for ideas on how to increase the knowledge of reading and reading proficiency in young children.
Dr. Nunez is excited about the LHBB and someone else with the same drive to help reading in families with young children. The two organizations have many differences, but one thing that they share is the love for kids and the importance of reading.
“This is what shows that people care, helping the children in an effort not to get rich but to help them get better,” said Dr. Nunez. “These organizations are helping more students than you realize and it can only increase from here.”
The Mobile Library works in connection with the school district of Alvarado and is not a separate organization. The Mobile Library is active when the students from Alvarado ISD are on an academic break, and will resume over the winter break.
Jennifer Little, Founder of Little Hands Book Bank, is all about making opportunities. The primary goal of this organization is to give children opportunities to read. Little has even donated her own books after her son has outgrew that reading level.
“I’ve always loved books and I’ve passed that love onto my son by reading to him from the time he was a baby. I wanted to make sure the books he outgrew would go to children that really needed them,” Little said.
Little said that her son had a lot of influence on starting this organization. Little started LHBB with her close friend who also has a public relations background. Children are the target here and lives of many will be touched.
“As a family that loves to read together, it’s hard to imagine that there are young children who don’t have books or the opportunity to read with someone at home,” Little said. “The reality is that books are a luxury for many families.”