My name is Sameera Khalifa and I am a librarian at an alternative high school in Washington state.
Talley High School is the district’s alternative school. 59% of the students receive free or reduced lunch; 80% are behind academically and 19% are special needs and 73% are students of color.
My goal is to raise money to purchase small, home libraries for the babies of teen parents at the high school where I work. They are primarily mothers, but we also have a few teen dads. The young parents often don't have time to bring their babies to neighborhood libraries because of their studies and obligations. Also, many of them don't know how important it is to read to their babies and how much critical brain development takes place during the earliest years.
I want to make it easy for young parents to read to their babies in their homes while bonding and furthering their own education. I’ll do this by providing them with proven high-interest, award-winning books that spark the imagination and brain function in their babies and to share best practices and support about early literacy and brain development.
This year, it is my hope to provide young families with collections of fifteen to twenty award-winning, high-interest baby and children's books to read to their children at home from the time they are born until they are school age.
Children’s book ownership, starting at a very young age, is imperative to gaining an appreciation for books, developing “reading readiness,” supporting literacy growth throughout the primary years, and ultimately becoming a skilled reader.
In middle-income neighborhoods the ratio of books per child is 13 to 1, in low-income neighborhoods, the ratio is 1 age-appropriate book for every 300 children. Please help us bridge the gap.
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