In 2006, Book’em joined forces with Reading Is Fundamental (RIF), the largest children’s literacy organization in the United States. Today, Book’em administers the RIF program in 17 Title I Metro Nashville elementary schools and hopes to grow to serve more schools in the future.
Each classroom is visited by a volunteer reader five times throughout the school year, during which the reader engages the students through interactive reading. At the end of each visit, students each pick their own book to keep and enjoy at home. Locally, RIF serves around 2,500 children a year through a network of more than 200 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’s Kids
Through our Books for Nashville’s Kids (BFNK) book distribution program, Book’em provides a service that no other Nashville nonprofit offers — supplying thousands of books to organizations that serve underprivileged children in Davidson County. Book’em provides books to Habitat for Humanity, Metro Nashville Public Schools, Davidson County Juvenile Court, St. Luke’s Community House, Metro Public Health Department, and many more organizations. In 2018, more than 100,000 books were distributed through Books for Nashville’s Kids.
Ready for Reading
Our Ready for Reading program places reading volunteers in local preschools and early learning centers. 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 having a successful experience with the children.
Read Me Day
Each year Book’em sponsors Read Me Day, a special celebration of reading in one of the schools it serves, to raise awareness of the importance of providing literary services to Nashville’s youth. Read Me Day was started in 1986 by Frankie DeWees, a teacher at East Hickman Elementary School in Lyles, Tennessee, 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, and has recently expanded into Read Me Week, holding four celebrations at four different schools throughout the week.