Bookworms Club and Other Ideas to Get Books to Students
In this section:
The Importance of Owning Books
“Simply providing access [to books] is the first and most important step in encouraging literacy development.”
– Stephen Krashen, Professor Emeritus at USC, linguist, education researcher & political activist
Research has shown that “the only behavior measure that correlates significantly with reading scores is the number of books in the home.” Growing up in a home with 500 books will propel a child 3.2 years further in their education than a home without books. And educators contend that books should be seen as a necessity alongside food, shelter, and health care. Unfortunately, many children, particularly those from low-income communities, do not have access to books.
Access to books is challenging for three main reasons:
- Children’s books are expensive. They cost nearly $15-20 for a hardcover, $5-10 for a soft cover.
- There simply aren’t many books for sale in low-income areas. One study found that middle-income neighborhoods had thirteen books for purchase for every child while low-income areas had approximately one book for purchase for every three hundred children.
- There is a lack of funding for school libraries. Many schools have experienced budget cuts that have decreased the hours of operations of school libraries because schools cannot afford to hire a full-time or even part-time school librarian. If they do have an open school library, they’re often underfunded, under-stocked and out-of-date.
As part of KOREH L.A.’s mission to ensure that the children of Los Angeles can read and succeed, our Book Initiative restocks the empty shelves of LAUSD elementary school libraries and sends individually curated books to the home libraries of students across Los Angeles. Read on to find out how you can participate in boosting your student’s literacy skills by increasing their access to books.
The KOREH L.A. Bookworms Club
Welcome to the KOREH L.A. Bookworms Club, part of KOREH L.A.’s Book Initiative to put more books in the hands of students! This exciting club is a great way for your students to receive new books for their own home library. All your students have to do is fill out a Bookworms Club Worksheet to keep track of what they are reading. Once they’ve read five books, and you mail in their completed Bookworms Club Worksheet, we will send you a wonderful brand new book for your students to keep and enjoy forever! To help ensure parent involvement, the worksheet includes a letter in English and Spanish explaining the program and asking for their signatures on completed worksheets.
Here’s how it works:
- You give your reading partner the Bookworms Club Worksheet.
- When your reading partner has filled out the worksheet, including the parent/guardian signature, he or she will bring it back to you.
- Please mail the completed worksheet to:
6505 Wilshire Blvd., Suite 900
Los Angeles, CA 90048
Scan and email completed worksheets to Literacy@JewishLA.org
Fax completed worksheets to 323-606-8144.
- Check the mail for your reading partner’s brand new book!
- Don’t stop now – repeat Steps 1-4 as many times as you’d like!
Questions? Contact us. The sky’s the limit for earning FREE books!
Libraries play a major role in our communities. They provide access to books to those who wouldn’t otherwise have access. In doing so, they encourage self-selected reading, which in turns contributes to higher levels of literacy.
Your school’s library is a great place to start. In addition, here in Los Angeles, we are lucky to have the Los Angeles Public Library and the County of Los Angeles Public Library systems, 2 of the 25 biggest library systems in the nation, providing Los Angeles with a combined total over 150 local branches all over the county from Long Beach all the way up to Sylmar, and a combined catalog of over 13 million books, audiobooks, periodicals, etc.
Libraries do a great job at promoting family literacy. Most libraries also have spaces specifically meant for children, story hour, and reading tutors. Plus, they provide many important and fun services and a gathering space in the communities they serve. For example, our libraries provide:
- Access to internet and computers
- Homework help
- Instruction in finances and financial aid
- Literacy programs
- English lessons
- Tax assistance
- Health care information
- Movie nights
- Yoga classes
- Author talks
- Book clubs
- Map collections
- Music and movie rentals
- Art exhibitions
- Volunteer opportunities
We encourage you to use libraries (if you don’t already) and to encourage your student to use them as well. When you do, you are increasing their access to books, and ultimately, helping them to succeed in school and beyond!
If your student doesn’t have a library card already, help them fill out a library card application to get signed by their parents. Provide them with information on their local library and encourage them to take advantage of the branch in their neighborhood. Encourage them to ask their family if they can visit the library on a weekly or bi-monthly basis.
While volunteers are certainly not required to spend any money toward their reading sessions, some volunteers choose to occasionally buy books to lend or gift to their students. Students feel special when volunteers surprise them with a book after reading it together during their reading session, and students benefit from reading it again and again on their own or with their siblings and families. And when you loan a book to your student that you own, you don’t run the risk of dealing with the penalties you would encounter with a lost library book.
If you choose to buy books for your student, we encourage you to purchase children’s books at your local independent bookstore! By shopping at an independently-owned bookstore, you support local authors, your neighbors, and the local economy. Take a look at the below list or find the one closest to you here.
Diesel, A Bookstore
Brentwood Country Mart
225 26th Street, Suite #33
Santa Monica, CA 90402
Small World Books
1407 Ocean Front Walk
Venice, CA 90291
Children’s Book World
10580 W Pico Blvd
Los Angeles, CA 90064
8818 Sunset Blvd
West Hollywood, CA 90069
CENTRAL L.A. / HOLLYWOOD
Barnes & Noble
189 The Grove Dr K 30
Los Angeles, CA 90036
1818 N Vermont Ave
Los Angeles, CA 90027
Stories, Books & Café
1716 Sunset Blvd
Los Angeles, CA 90026
695 E Colorado Blvd
Pasadena, CA 91101
Once Upon A Time Bookstore
2207 Honolulu Ave
Montrose, CA 91020
The Last Bookstore
452 S Spring St
Los Angeles, CA 90013
Libros Schmibros Lending Library
1711 Mariachi Plaza
Los Angeles, CA 90033
Eso Won Books
4327 Degnan Blvd
Los Angeles, CA 90008
Pages: a bookstore
904 Manhattan Ave
Manhattan Beach, CA 90266
5535 E Spring St
Long Beach, CA
Other Ideas to Get Books to Students
How else can you help increase your student’s access to books and build their home libraries? Here are some ideas:
- Wrap It Up. Enjoy the spirit of the holiday season by joining your fellow KOREH L.A. volunteers for our annual Wrap It Up holiday event each winter! Spread cheer by selecting and wrapping a brand new book for your reading partner while getting to know other volunteers who share your passion for teaching children to read. We provide the books, wrapping paper and fun! Contact us for more information.
- Participate in our annual Bookmark Contest. Every spring, the Bookmark Contest is a way to recognize your student’s hard work and accomplishments. Every student who submits a decorated bookmark wins a packet full of prizes, including a brand new book for their home libraries. Each year’s Bookmark Contest celebrates a different theme, and students are encouraged to think creatively about that theme. We look forward to seeing the beautiful bookmarks you and your reading partner create together! Contact us for more information.
- Make a book with your student. Pick a theme (e.g. “My summer vacation”), take turns speaking and writing words or sentences, type up the words verbatim, edit them together, ask your student to draw illustrations, and bring the pages to your local printing shop to bind into a book that your student can proudly share with their friends and family!
- Free Comic Book Day is celebrated the first Saturday of each May. Comic books make great gifts for struggling readers because of their action-packed visuals and engrossing storylines. Pick up a free comic book from a participating shop. You can find a list here.
- Encourage your student to participate in a summer reading challenge to earn free books. Go to End of the Year and Summer Slide for more.
Looking to help get more books to more students? Host a book drive!
Ask a volunteer: What are some of the best ways you have found to get books to your student?
- Used book sales at bookstores and libraries offer books at highly discounted prices.
- Find discounted books at estate sales, garage sales, and flea markets.
- Ask friends if they have any books laying around that their kids or grandkids have outgrown.