Books can change the lives of children and developing the habit of reading at a young age will become a lifelong tool. When children read, they learn to become creative, empathetic and critical thinkers. In the spring of 2019, we wish to implement a large scale reading campaign in Mexico that unites 700 children from over a dozen rural villages. Children, teachers, and parents read a selected book together and then the author personally meets them in their villages. This will be our 6th year.
Mexico took the penultimate spot, out of 108 countries, in a UNESCO assessment of reading. Furthermore, although there are more literate people in Mexico than in previous generations, fewer people are actually reading. In most public schools, children do not read non-textbooks, and in rural communities most children grow up in homes that have no books. This is worrisome because reading fosters important critical thinking skills, empathetic behavior, and better communication skills.
Our mission is to inspire children to read more and we focus our efforts on children from low-income families, in rural communities where access to books is limited. But it is not just about giving books to children; it is about getting children excited to read! We achieve this by teaching educators how to make reading fun, by implementing reading campaigns, and by bringing authors to meet children in their communities to talk to them and motivate them to pursue their dreams.
The project will work directly with 25 teachers and 700 children from rural and marginalized communities with the aim of instilling a habit and love of reading. We will achieve this by providing communities with books and then making meaningful experiences for children around reading. The book we have selected is called El Regalo del Elefante (Amira Valle) which is a beautiful story that includes activities to teach children how to practice mindfulness.