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New Policy Brief Shows Urgent Need for Book Access

March 19, 2024 7:25 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

The National Book Access Association is spotlighting an urgent issue in the literacy landscape of our nation: the impact of book deserts on children's reading development. In a compelling policy brief by Molly K. Ness, Ph.D., the harsh reality of book deserts—areas severely lacking in accessible books for children—is brought to light, emphasizing the critical need for book access in fostering literacy and educational success.

In high-poverty areas, the scarcity of books reaches staggering proportions, with one area in Washington, DC showing only one book available for every 833 children. This disparity is not just limited to individual homes but extends to schools and public libraries, particularly affecting low-income and minority communities. The consequences of such inequity are profound, with studies showing that children with more books at home achieve higher levels of education and develop stronger literacy skills.

However, the brief doesn't just outline the problem; it provides a roadmap to solutions that could significantly alter the literacy landscape. Among the proposed interventions are increasing funding for book distribution programs, encouraging family participation in these programs, focusing on impact-based research, and establishing book distribution in community areas to ensure books reach the hands of children who need them most. Additionally, the brief advocates for partnerships across programs to amplify their reach and effectiveness, underscoring the necessity of a coordinated national effort to combat the challenges presented by book deserts.

The National Book Access Association stands behind these recommendations, recognizing the critical role of access to books in not only advancing literacy but also in empowering children as engaged, lifelong learners. By addressing the book desert crisis, we can open doors to endless possibilities for our nation's children, ensuring that every child has the opportunity to grow, learn, and thrive through the transformative power of books.

Read the Brief (pdf)

The National Book Access Association is a Sponsored Program of First Book. Founded in Washington, D.C. in 1992, First Book is an award-winning nonprofit social enterprise dedicated to eliminating barriers to learning and inspiring young minds.

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National Book Access Association c/o First Book
1319 F St NW, Suite 1000, Washington DC 20004

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