FAMILIES READ: First Book promotes literacy

First Book-Hood River County recently awarded six book grants for a total of 2,719 books to be distributed by local organizations to 501 children/youth in the community.

The grants were chosen by the First Book-Hood River County Advisory Board and awarded to children at May Street Elementary, New Parent Services Healthy Start home visiting program (birth to 3 years), NORCOR Juvenile Learning Center, Wy’east Middle School summer reading program, Klahre House Alternative School (The Next Door) and the Hood River Valley High School Teen Parent Program.

An example of this local literacy effort in Hood River County is told in the following 2012 Book Grant recipient story, according to Coordinator Nancy Johansen Paul:

One of the smallest elementary schools in our area also has the highest level of poverty (82 percent). Nearly all families are single-parent households, struggling to get by. This does not allow for extras, such as books to be read at home.

All of our families would like to support their children with learning to read; however, many parents do not have a high school diploma and struggled themselves in school. Providing the parents a way to help their children with reading is very rewarding for the parents.

First Book-Hood River County has provided books for students to take home to emphasize that the ability to read is critical in breaking the cycle of poverty. Research has shown that a major factor affecting literacy is access to books.

Just prior to Thanksgiving week break in 2012, a bag of First Book books were provided to each student in kindergarten, first and second grades. Lightweight book bags received from another agency were decorated by the librarian with each student’s name. Then certain chosen books were placed inside.

On Book Giveaway Day, each class came to the library where the principal explained the purpose of the bags and how First Book had provided them. Students then received their bags and pored over the books inside. For the youngest students, older elementary students came to read with them. The excitement was as high as any Christmas morning.

Students were able to take their new treasures home for the Thanksgiving break and practice reading. This helped prevent lost skills over the one-week vacation. Being able to keep their books and not have to return them to a library emphasizes the importance of being responsible and having some books of their own. We know that First Book-Hood River County has made a difference in our children’s lives.


First Book-Hood River County will be at the June 14 kick-off of the Hood River Library summer reading program. Bookplates will be sold for $3 that will be placed in books to be given out to local children.

One bookplate provides one book to a child. Ten dollars provides four books to local children. Bookplates can be made in honor or in memory of a loved one. Bookplates can also be purchased by calling Nancy Johanson Paul at 541-490-5330 or by giving a tax-deductible donation to First Book-Hood River County, P.O. Box 221, Hood River, OR 97031.

Latest stories

Latest video:

Parkdale third graders sing "12 Disaster Days of Christmas"

Welcome to your sing-able Christmas gift list. What follows is an emergency rendition of “12 Days of Christmas” – for outfitting your home or car in case of snow storm, earthquake, flood or other emergency. Read it as a simple list, or sing it to the tune of “12 Days” – you know, as in “ … and a partridge in a pear tree…” Not to make light of it, but the song is a familiar framework for a set of gift ideas that you could consider gathering together, even if the recipient already owns items such as a bunch of coats, tire chains and flashlights. Stores throughout the Gorge are stocked up on all these items. Buying all 12 days might be prohibitive, but here are three ideas for checking any of the dozen off your list (notations follow, 1-12.) The gift items needed to stay warm, dry and safe are also coded to suggest items in your abode (A) in your car (C) or both (B). 12 Gallons of Water (A) 11 Family meals (B) 10 Cans of propane (A) 9 Hygiene bags (B) 8 Packs of batteries (A) 7 Spare coats (B) 6 Bright red flares (C) 5 Cozy blankets (B) 4 Tire chains (C) 3 Flashlights (B) 2 cell phone chargers (B) 1 And a crush-proof first aid kit (B) Price ranges? Here’s a few quotes for days Three, Two, Four and Nine: n A family gift of flashlights (three will run $15-30, Hood River Supply, Tum-A-Lum) n Cell phone chargers (two will run $30-60) n Tire chains (basic set, $30, Les Schwab, returnable if unused for the winter) n Family meals ($100 or so should cover the basics for three or four reasonably well-fed days) n The home kit should be kept in a handy place near an exit, and remember that water needs to be replenished every few months. If you have a solid first aid kit already, switch out the gift idea with “and-a-sto-o-u-t- tub-for it-all …” Otherwise, it’s a case of assembling your home or car kits and making sure all members of the family know what the resources are and how to use them (ie flares and propane). Emergency situations are at worst life-threatening, at best deeply uncomfortable if you and your family are left without power for an extended period, or traveling and find yourself in a situation where you need to wait out a storm, lengthy traffic delay, or other crisis. Notes on the 12 gift ideas: 12 – Gallons of water: that’s one per person in a four-member family to last for three days, the recommended minimum to be prepared for utility outages. 11 – Easy-open packaged goods, energy bars, dried food and nuts are good things to include for nutrition. Think of what your family of four needs for three days to stay fortified and hydrated (see number 12). Can-opener also recommended 10 – If you have a propane camping stove, keep extra fuel handy. 9 – Hygiene bags: put packaged moistened towelettes, toilet paper, and plastic ties in large garbage bags (for personal sanitation) Resource list courtesy of Hood River County Emergency Management, Barbara Ayers, manager/ 541-386-1213. The county also reminds residents to Get a Kit, Make A Plan to connect your family if separated, and Stay Informed. See www.co.hood-river.or.us to opt-in for citizen alerts. Enlarge

Log in to comment

News from our Community Partners