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Cause

Big Rig Books

MISSION STATEMENT:  Big Rig Books is a non-profit mobile literacy outreach initiative focused on fostering recreational reading beyond the classroom by encouraging reading and providing books for children and families in economically challenged, underserved communities and underperforming schools.

GOALS:

  • To cultivate readers and encourage reading
  • To provide the books for children to build their own home libraries
  • To promote early literacy
  • To foster the desire and ability in children to learn through reading
  • To model the value of service to youth and communities
  • To have a positive impact on children’s academic success, future career opportunities and overall quality of life

LITERACY FACTS:

  • 40% of American children have difficulty reading or learning to read
  • The degree of literacy is related to poverty
  • Reading at home is critical to literacy-yet:
    • In many public elementary schools, the majority of the children read below grade level
    • Typically these schools are in neighborhoods where 93% of families are low-income and qualify for public assistance
    • 61% of low-income families have NO books at home for children, and, therefore, NO reading opportunities
    • Public libraries can be inaccessible and located in dangerous or gang infested neighborhoods
    • Books owned by the schools are often kept at the school and not permitted to go home with the children

Bottom Line Facts:

One third of fourth graders in Chicago, for instance, have reading skills below statewide expectations and live in neighborhoods with little or no access to books. Reading is one of the best predictors of a student’s academic success-poor readers tend to read less. If a child’s reading abilities fall behind their peers, they will predictability lose motivation and confidence both at home and socially, which can lead to a devastating and downward spiral of their self-esteem and quality-of-life.

BIG RIG BOOK’S INITIATIVE:

We do not believe in handouts and want accountability for the books we give away. Big Rig Book’s reading program, The Big Rig Book Club, enlists the support of teachers, parents/guardians, mentors or tutors to account for the books that the children have been given, by completing a provided reading log each time a free book is read. The Big Rig, a 35 foot bookmobile trailer that has a 7000 book capacity pulled by a custom painted Peterbilt semi-truck designed to attract and excite children, will make regularly scheduled visits, where children, with adult assistance can choose an age appropriate new or gently used book to add to or begin a home library of their own.

HOW WE COLLECT BOOKS:

  • Organize book drives with a wide variety of organizations, businesses, churches and schools
  • Partner with other organizations which collect and distribute books
  • Partner with publishers, clearinghouses and bookstores that have overstock and clearance book titles and/or have a desire to help our cause

HOW WE DISTRIBUTE BOOKS:

  • Working with schools and non-profit, children-oriented agencies in underserved and economically challenged neighborhoods.
  • Participating with other literacy organizations’ special events and initiatives

WHERE DOES THE FUNDING COME FROM?

The Big Rig Book Club is fully operated by volunteers.   Costs to operate the truck such as fuel, insurance, storage, repairs, as well as book procurement will be paid through fund raising events and the generosity of corporate grants, service organization grants and private donations.

WHY IS READING READINESS SO IMPORTANT?

Millions of children show up to the first day of kindergarten having never seen a book before. Through no fault of their own, they begin school four years behind. Millions of dollars are spent annually on reading intervention programs in an attempt to bring children’s reading skills to grade level. Of those that do not catch up, and cannot read proficiently by the fourth grade, two thirds will end up in jail or on welfare. 

 

Contact: John and Kathy Gervase    708-205-1516     bigrigbooks@gmail.com