We are concerned that New Zealand’s social and educational indicators are falling behind other first-world countries. Since 1999 we have supported Books in Homes.This program targets every child in 550 elementary schools in the lowest-decile areas, and aims to break the cycle of booklessness in many poorer families…
By the time these children leave elementary and junior school, they will have up to 55 books each, chosen by themselves to keep for themselves. There is a big variety of book titles they can choose, including some awful rubbish- which some grown-ups can’t understand! (The point is to encourage reading of any sort- even if a child starts with a comic, they will associate books with enjoyment rather than with compulsion, and may start a lifetime habit.) Our hope is that they will have developed a love of learning and the tools to escape the poverty trap. There is some evidence that the program is working, and the kids’ teachers all have success stories to tell when we visit them.
The Sue Freitag and Barry Dent Charitable Trust sponsors 1050 children from 5 schools in the central North Island. We are also major sponsors of the Kids at Home project:
Many families in lower-decile areas move around a lot. This makes it hard to keep track of the children in a family and some may not learn the going-to-school ethic. Book in Homes has started the Kids at Home program, whereby the children attending school are used to gather information about younger siblings at home. When signed up to Kids at Home, the child at school will take home to the younger child, a book and a birthday card, at each birthday from age 1 until the child starts school. The earlier the start with the book habit, the better the outcome. Our total sponsorship of Books in Homes averages $36,000 p.a.
You will note that we are soliciting your donations for our conservation program. We would like you also to consider supporting Books in Homes, but we can add no value by being an intermediary, and encourage you to contact the Books in Homes team directly.