Bringing Books to Children
Books are the building blocks of literacy. They are fundamental to our program and critical to helping Guatemala’s poorest children reach their potential, in school and in life.
Each year, we ship tens of thousands of Spanish-language children’s books to Guatemala and deliver them to remote schools and libraries. We work closely with U.S. publishers and nonprofit distributors to acquire supplies of high-quality books, and we carefully select only those titles that will be appropriate for children in the impoverished regions where we work. We turn rural libraries into book hubs, working closely with librarians to help them supply rotating boxes of books to remote classrooms in outlying villages. In this way, we ensure that even the most isolated schools have access to vital reading materials.
Books: A Starting Point
Seventeen years of literacy work in Guatemala has taught us that simply distributing books is not enough to improve literacy rates. In order to ensure that books are used regularly and in a way that improves children’s reading abilities, we back our distribution efforts with practical, ongoing literacy training for teachers and librarians. When bringing books to village classrooms, we help teachers develop specific reading techniques that engage and inspire their students to read. We help librarians create reading programs, book-lending programs and extracurricular literacy activities that guarantee the books get used. In places where most books are outdated, irrelevant, dilapidated or inappropriate for children, our books are exactly what’s needed to inspire and engage new readers. In our 52 partner communities, books are used and enjoyed by children and teachers every day.
The Power of Storybooks
Although we deliver thousands of textbooks, science books and workbooks to libraries and schools in Guatemala, we pay special attention to storybooks. These are the books that ignite the spark of literacy in children. More than any other reading materials, storybooks captivate children’s imaginations and make them want to read. In a typical classroom in rural Guatemala, where books are few and storybooks nonexistent, children rarely read. But inside our partner-school classrooms, children hunger for books and demand that their teachers read to them every day. The difference is like night and day.