I’ve always loved to read. Ever since I was a little girl, when my mom would tuck me into bed every night with a bedtime story, books have nurtured my imagination, given me strength, and helped me to envision an exciting place for myself in the world. Books and reading have always been such an important part of my life that it is impossible for me to imagine what my life would have been like without them.
Unfortunately, that is something that too many children across the United States have grown up knowing. Right now, it is estimated that 11 million adults in the United States (1 in 20 adults) are non-literate in English, meaning that they can’t perform simple tasks like reading their prescription medication labels or filling out job applications. And as funding for school reading programs are being cut, that number will probably increase for the generation of children who are now in school.
That’s why this fall, we at Cambria Winery have decided to help raise $20,000 for national literacy organization First Book! My family has always been passionate about supporting education, and we’ve had a book drive in our Santa Maria tasting room for the past couple of years, in order to donate books to local charities in need. However, this year we really wanted to make a greater impact, and to support literacy on the national level. With the $20,000 we raise this fall for First Book, they will be able to donate 10,000 new books to the pre-schools, reading programs and classrooms in need across the country, to help get books into the hands of children whose families otherwise would not be able to afford them.
I’m going to be writing more about what our literacy campaign is going to be all about on the blog within the next couple of days, but for now, I’ll just give you a short summary. First, we’ll be getting the word out about our text-to-donate program that is kicking off today, September 1st, in honor of September being National Literacy Month! To text-to-donate, simply text the word “FIRSTBOOK” to 20222, to have a $5 donation added to your phone bill. That $5 donation will give First Book the resources to purchase two and a half new books for children, and to put us on the way to helping thousands of children in need!
I hope that you’ll stay tuned to hear other exciting ways to help us combat illiteracy! Together, we can do our part to make the world a better place for thousands of children in need.
Here are some quick facts about literacy:
- There is an estimated 11 million adults are “non-literate” in English, including 4 million who probably can’t speak English and 7 million who can’t answer basic written questions.
- Some 30 million adults have “below basic” skills in prose. Their ability is so limited that they may not be able to read a simple pamphlet, for example.
- Although the number of books in the home directly predicts reading achievement, one study found that in some of the lowest-income neighborhoods in the country there is only one book available for every 300 children. The same study found that for middle income neighborhoods, the ratio is 13 books per child.
- 80 percent of the pre-schools and after school programs serving children in need do not have a single book for the children they serve.
Thank you for your support!