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Improving Literacy In Alabama 1000 Books in 100 Days



    Did you know…..


    • approximately 50 percent of the nation's unemployed youth age 16-21 are functionally illiterate, with virtually no prospects of obtaining good jobs?

    U.S. Department of Health and Human Services


    • 60 percent of America's prison inmates are illiterate and 85% of all juvenile offenders have reading problems?

    U.S. Department of Education


    • children who have not developed some basic literacy skills by the time they enter school are 3 to 4 times more likely to drop out in later years?

    National Adult Literacy Survey, (1002) NCES, U.S. Department of Education

    According to the Annie E. Casey Foundation, proficiency in reading by the end of the third grade is a crucial marker in a child’s educational development. In its 2013 Kids Count Data Book, a stunning 66% of fourth graders in public school were reading below proficient levels! The end of the third grade marks a point where children transition from learning to read to using reading to learn other subjects.

    Although improvements have been made, reading levels remain unacceptably low - indicating 80% of low-income fourth graders are not proficient. The problem often starts early as a result of health problems at birth that contribute to lags in skill development in early childhood. Low-income children are also more likely to miss out on high-quality learning experiences that could help to mitigate these delays. Many are also faced with family-related stressors, such as housing insecurity, parental job loss or the parent working more than one job, which contribute to chronic absence from school. 

    Statistics also indicate that by 2020, the United States is expected to face a shortage of 1.5 million workers with college degrees. Even more frightening is the anticipated surplus of 6 million individuals without a high school diploma who are unemployed because they lack necessary education credentials. If we do not ensure all children gain the appropriate reading skills to be successful, their future economic prospects will be dim and the economy will lag.

    How can ALSHRM and our local chapters help? The State Council would like ask each chapter to consider participating in our 1000 Books in 100 Days workforce readiness initiative beginning February 29th. The idea is for each chapter to collect at least 100 books – Kindergarten through 3rd grade level – to be distributed in underserved areas of your community. The organization or facility to partner with is up to each chapter. The goal is to get as many books as possible into the hands of children in Alabama of this age group. Organizations will be asked to give a book to each child they work with in this age group. Just having something of their own can be exciting for many of these children. We trust this excitement will spill over into their desire to learn to read!

    How will it work? Here are few ideas to help:

    • Establish the criteria for your chapter
      • Set a goal for the number of books to collect
      • Determine the organization(s) your chapter will support
      • Designate book collection locations – chapter meetings, member businesses, etc.
    • Promote the program to your chapter members
    • Share ideas to make the drive successful
      • Donations from members of new or “slightly loved” books – books for this age group are generally inexpensive and can be purchased at WalMart, Target, Sam’s, etc.
      • Solicit cash donations from members who prefer not to shop
      • Ask members to consider holding a book drive at their companies
      • Swap used adult books members have read for “slightly loved” children’s books at used bookstores
      • Ask bookstores or publishers for donations
      • Consider competitions to bring in more books
        • Award a year of free dues or other appropriate gift to the winner
        • Consider challenging another chapter to a competition
    • Before distribution, print and place labels inside the book for the child to place his/her name. Indicate the book was donated by your chapter to promote your chapter in the community (Example: This book is a gift from ALSHRM for ______________)
    • Keep a record of the number of books collected and distributed
    • Deliver books to the organization(s) as soon as possible but no later than June 10th. Books should be in children’s hands as soon as possible after school dismisses for the summer
    • To enhance the program, suggest that older children being served by the organization read the books to the younger children as they give them away.
    • Examples of organization or facilities:
      • Boys & Girls Clubs
      • Clinics in underserved areas such as the county board of health
      • Church summer programs
    • Follow up with organization(s) to determine the number of books that have been given to children. Report this number to Carol Statter, ALSHRM Workforce Readiness Director, by August 31, 2016.

    Let’s show Alabama that human resource professionals have a heart and care about our communities! If you have any questions or would like someone to discuss the initiative at a chapter meeting, please contact Carol Statter at or 251.591.6180. ALSHRM looks forward to working with you and your chapter on this statewide effort.