Ready To Learn partners with schools in the St. Louis area to give students the opportunity to own their first book and to encourage a love of reading. Our two programs, Book Buddies and Book Day are focused on that mission.

Book Buddies get kids interested in books and reading.

Our volunteers carefully pair books with a stuffed animal “buddy” that looks like the main character of the book. Students get excited when they see the stuffed animals together with a book, and quickly realize that the book is actually about their “buddy”. They are soon reading the book to find out what happens. Children love to cuddle with their buddies while reading. They often read out loud to their buddies or act out the story at their desk. Students tell us that Book Buddies don’t mind if they make a mistake while reading and make it easy to try again. Book Buddies encourage a student’s interest in books and reading.

Book Buddies are given to children in Preschool through Third grade. Teachers report that children who were not interested in books are drawn to Book Buddies. Their students are more likely to read if Book Buddies are in the classroom. Book Buddies are kept at school during the school year, and at the end of the year, teachers are able to send one home with each student in their class.

Book Day gives a child the opportunity to choose and own their first books!

In many low-income households, the priorities are feeding the children and heating the home. Buying books for children is a luxury that few can afford. In the average middle-income neighborhood there are thirteen books for every child. In the average low-income neighborhood there is one book for every 300 children. Ready To Learn provides four free books, per school year, for every student in each of the schools we serve. Students choose books they are interested in within their reading level. This is important, as it develops their current reading skills and encourages them to reach for the next level.

Book ownership is something new to these students, and Ready To Learn wants to give every student the opportunity to have a book of his or her own.  Students choose books they find interesting, they write their names in their books, and at the end of the day, take them home to keep. Writing their names in the books is such a big deal to these students; many have never had a book to call their own. Sharing the love of reading and joy of book ownership with children is what Ready To Learn does best.