There are hard truths that we as a nation need to face: Too many middle and high school students don't read the assigned texts, and some even manage to slip by without having ever read a single book by the time they graduate. As middle and high school reading declines, college professors lament students' inability to comprehend and analyze complex texts, or even keep up with the volume of reading that higher education requires.
The rest of us are left to wonder: What do we as a society lose when so many high school graduates have no interest in reading anything?
In Book Love: Developing Depth, Stamina, and Passion in Adolescent Readers, Penny Kittle took student apathy head on and showed that when students are given books that are right for them, along with the time to read and regular response to their thinking, a pathway to satisfying reading is created that leads to more challenging literature and, ultimately, a love of reading.
The fact remains: There is only one book for every 300 kids living in under served communities in the U.S. Students need books—the right books that they can can connect with.
In response to this national crisis, each year the Book Love Foundation funds starter classroom libraries of 500 books. The Foundation's Board of Directors awards the libraries to passionately committed teachers who aim instruction towards increasing volume, stamina, and joy in reading in middle and high school. These teachers choose 25% of the books they receive; 75% is a mix of highly engaging fiction and nonfiction chosen by the Foundation's Board.
Booksource has been a major supporter of the Foundation, providing libraries and covering shipping costs. Heinemann, publisher of Penny's books including Book Love, generously funds one library a year, as do Penny and her husband, Pat.
In the first two years, the Foundation funded 13 libraries, each of which cost $3,800. There are thousands of classrooms that need in-room libraries.