“I always imagined paradise as some kind of library”
Jorge Luis Borges
“One book at a time” refers to all those projects that focus on the direct donation of books.
“One book at a time” aims to promote quality reading among those children who most need it, all in a transparent and effective way. Needs differ in each situation: no access to suitable books according to reading level and individual interests, lack of mentors to support the habit of reading, or simply the lack of resources to acquire reading books or textbooks. We donate books specifically chosen for each case, be it for families, schools or hospitals among others.
Three types of projects have been developed and implemented so far. First, the direct donation of books as needed regarding learning level. Second, the creation of small albeit full libraries with a wide range of book types. And third, the implementation of small scale reading programs.
These types of projects have strong and proven effects on the individual development of children. One at a time projects believes in the power of good books to promote literacy and develop the imagination. Books are also a constant source of inspiration and motivation to learn and keep studying.
Both the PIRLS report of 2006 and the PISA study of 2009 confirm that regularly reading stories or novels outside of school is associated with higher scores in reading assessments. Other studies report that reading is one of the most important personal habits that lead to a successful academic career and a happy, productive life, and highlight other benefits to reading for pleasure like text comprehension and grammar, positive reading attitudes, pleasure in reading in later life and increased general knowledge.
Beyond its individual level effects, the promotion of reading is associated with collective positive externalities, with an impact on community relations and even economy.
Reading helps to reduce inequality. The Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) reports that reading enjoyment is more important for children’s educational success than their family’s socio-economic status .
Also, reading is a way to reduce academic differences among races as avid readers of all backgrounds are higher achievers than students who seldom read; indeed, the achievement gap between white students and students of color disappears when both read widely and passionately.
For all these reasons we believe that the promotion of reading is a high impact tool with large effects on children with difficult situations and their families.
Bayless, C. 2010. Growing a reading culture: Just for parents. http://www.slideshare. net/ThroughtheMagicDoor/growing-a-reading-culture-1647123.
Clark, C., and Rumbold, K. (2006). Reading for Pleasure a research overview. The National Literacy Trust.
Clark, C., and Douglas, J. (2011) Young People’s Reading and Writing An in- depth study focusing on enjoyment, behaviour, attitudes and attainment National Literacy Trust
OECD (2002) Reading For Change Performance And Engagement Across Countries – Results From PISA 2000.
OECD (2010) PISA 2009 Results: Executive Summary
PIRLS (2006) Ina V.S. Mullis, Michael O. Martin, Ann M. Kennedy, and Pierre Atwell, N. 2007. The reading zone: How to help kids become skilled, passionate, habitual, critical readers. New York: Scholastic.
Robinson, R. 2010. Read every day. Lead a better life. Speech presented at the International Reading Association convention, Chicago.
Swan, E., C. Coddington, and J. Guthrie. 2010. Engaged silent reading. In Revisiting silent reading: New directions for teachers and researchers, ed. E. Hiebert and R. Reutzel. Newark, DE: International Reading Association, 101.