'Tis The Season to Do Good
Every month, Goodreads highlights a great reading-related nonprofit for folks to volunteer with, donate to, or otherwise help. As this is the season of giving, we thought we'd share a roundup of some literary-themed charities in need of your support.
Barbershop Books is a community-based literacy program that creates friendly reading spaces in barbershops for boys. The nonprofit's mission is to help black boys between the ages of four and eight become readers by bringing books into barbershops—and involving the men who work there to help foster a love of reading. Every dollar invested in a reading space results in 27 minutes of reading in a barbershop. Find out more about the program's impact as well as how you can get involved and donate.
Since its founding in 1921, PEN International has championed freedom of expression while helping writers of all persuasions weather censorship, imprisonment, and persecution. Its advocacy has spanned wars and decades; then-PEN president H.G. Wells campaigned against Nazi book burnings before World War II, the organization condemned the fatwa against Salman Rushdie in 1989, and today PEN is active in more than 100 countries. Its recent work includes support for mother language education around the globe as well as rallying support for writers in crisis in foreign countries. Learn more and donate.
Dolly Parton's Imagination Library
In 1995, country singer Dolly Parton started the nonprofit Imagination Library to promote reading in her home state of Tennessee. Today the group has donated millions of books to children in need throughout the United States, Canada, Australia, and the United Kingdom. Every month the Imagination Library mails more than 1 million books to children's homes, and in February the nonprofit will send its 100 millionth book. Dolly Parton's Imagination Library partners with local communities. If your community would like to get involved, learn more here.
Reach Out & Read
Reach Out & Read helps at-risk kids learn to read. Through the program, Reach Out & Read-trained doctors give books to children at each of ten well-child visits, from infancy until they start school. More importantly, it encourages families to read aloud and engage with their infants, toddlers, and preschoolers every day. You can see a list of its recommended children's books here. You can also donate here.
ProLiteracy promotes adult literacy through education, training, research, policy development, and advocacy. It works with adult learners in partnership with local, national, and international organizations. Those include volunteer-based literacy groups, the U.S. adult basic education system, and agencies that specialize in workforce readiness, health literacy, and English as another language. Learn how to get involved and donate.
Reading Is Fundamental
Reading Is Fundamental (RIF) is committed to inspiring a passion for reading among children and engaging with communities to give every child the fundamentals for success. With the help of thousands of RIF volunteers (as well as local chapters established throughout the country in schools, Head Start programs, community centers, health clinics, migrant camps, and homeless shelters), it provides books and literacy resources for children in communities nationwide. You can help support tomorrow's community of readers by donating to RIF. Learn more and donate.
International Rescue Committee
An estimated 28 million children who are caught up in conflict and crisis worldwide are unable to attend school. For the past 80 years, the International Rescue Committee—which helps uprooted and war-torn communities in more than 30 countries to rebuild—has provided educational opportunities for children who are fleeing violence, disaster, and instability. The IRC, which was founded in 1933 at the request of Albert Einstein, operates in Africa, Asia, the Middle East, and Europe. In addition to offering schooling, it trains teachers and promotes literacy, advocating that access to education gives children a vital sense of stability and opportunity during an emergency. Learn more and donate.
The nonprofit Learning Ally uses educational technology to assist struggling readers who have learning differences and visual disabilities. Its cloud-based library of narrated audio textbooks and popular literature—all voiced by volunteers—gives these students access to grade-level content so they can become successful, engaged learners alongside their peers. Working with schools across the U.S., Learning Ally provides teachers with tools, training, and support to help students. Get involved and donate.
We Need Diverse Books
We Need Diverse Books is a grassroots nonprofit program that is run by children's book lovers and aims to increase the diversity of books available to young readers. The group works to promote literature featuring children's book characters who are from diverse racial, ethnic, cultural, religious, indigenous, LGBTQ, and other minority communities. We Need Diverse Books was spearheaded by author Ellen Oh and 21 other children's book writers and industry professionals. The group was founded on the belief that more diversity in children's books better reflects the world and teaches kids about our differences as well as our shared feelings and aspirations. Become a fund-raiser or volunteer.
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