Book’em merged with Reading Is Fundamental, the oldest literacy group in the Nashville area, in 2006. Today, Book’em administers the RIF program in ten Title I Metro elementary schools and hopes to grow to serve more in the coming year.
Each classroom is visited by a volunteer reader five-eight times during the school year. The reader engages the students through interactive reading. At the end of each visit, students each pick their own book to read and enjoy at home. Locally, RIF serves around 2,500 children a year through a network of more than 140 volunteers, distributing about 12,000 books a year. We have distributed more than 250,000 books since our inception and have served more than 43,000 Nashville children.
Books for Nashville Kids
Through its Books for Nashville Kids book distribution program, Book’em provides a service that no other Nashville nonprofit offers — getting thousands of books to nonprofits that serve underprivileged Nashville children. Book’em provides books to Habitat for Humanity, Second Harvest, Metro Nashville Schools, Lentz Dental Clinic, St. Luke’s Community House, Fannie Battle and many more organizations. Each year, more than 30,000 books are distributed through Books for Nashville Kids.
Ready for Reading
Our Ready for Reading program places reading volunteers in local preschools and elementary schools (pre-K). These reading volunteers act as reading role models. Our reading volunteers read on a weekly or bi-weekly basis one-on-one, to small groups of children or to an entire classroom. The weekly schedule allows the children to get to know the volunteers well and anticipate their visits with much excitement. Story time training is provided to aid the volunteers in being effective with the children. Volunteers often bring children books to enjoy at home.
Read Me Day
Each year Book’em sponsors Read Me Day, a special celebration of reading in one of the RIF schools it serves, to raise awareness of the importance of providing literary services to Nashville children. Read Me Day was started in 1986 by Frankie DeWees, a teacher at East Hickman Elementary School in Lyles, Tenn. The purpose of the event was to celebrate the importance of reading. The event was called “Read Me Day” because students, teachers and visiting readers were invited to wear a shirt, cap, or pin with a message on it so the children could “read the reader.” Book’em has celebrated Read Me Day since 1990.