First Book - Clallam County Programs
Our organization raises funds locally, then awards those funds to literacy groups. We identify agencies throughout Clallam County that have the most effective mentoring, tutoring, or family based literacy, preschool, and after-school programs for low-income families. Funding enables these programs to select books from a national First Book website. These are quality books offered by well respected publishers at significantly reduced prices. At least six books per year are then distributed to each child.
The national First Book organization has established the First Book "Book Bank", a program designed to distribute large quanitites of new books donated by publishers. Our board tries to take advantage of these offers, paying only the shipping at at cost of $.35 per book. These books are stored by our board, and then distributed to agencies.
Recent Successes and Current Challenges
Several of our recipient groups are Native American tribes that use the books obtained through First Book-Clallam County in parenting classes, during home visits, and at Parent Conferences. When books come home some children insist that the parents read them over and over. One second grader exclaimed "Wow, are these for me!" The agencies are very appreciative.
United Way of Clallam County has reported that 17.6% of our county's children under the age of 18 live in poverty. Studies show that reading achievement for a child eligible for free or reduced price school lunches tends to be 14% lower that those not eligible. Access to books is essential to reading development and an attempt to close this achievement gap. Students report that they are more interested in reading when they have their own books to read, re-read, and share. First Book-Clallam County continues to seek funding to supply our local literacy and parenting agencies with new books for their children.