By Ann Marie Foley - 13 November, 2019
A scheme that gave new books for free to children is to become a permanent fixture and will be extended to children who live in temporary accommodation, such as those who are homeless.
WordPower was a pilot project facilitated over the past year by the Society of St Vincent de Paul (SVP), which gave 3099 books to the families visited by volunteers in the East Region, which comprises counties Dublin, Kildare and Wicklow. It is hoped that the project will also spread to other parts of the country in the future.
“With increased resources we also hope to expand the project to include families living in emergency accommodation and family hubs as well as those living in direct provision centres,” said SVP member Michael Boyle, whose “Books for Babies” scheme in the Dublin suburb of West Tallaght was the catalyst for WordPower.
The charity is appealing to the public to donate books and those who wish to get involved are advised to place a WordPower label (which the SVP will supply) on the box or bag which contains the books.
The last date for donations in time for Christmas is 13 December. However, books are not just for Christmas and WordPower runs all year round, with the SVP relying on book donations. Donations of new books for children or financial donations to allow WordPower purchase new children’s books are needed to ensure the continuation of this project.
Each WordPower pack includes age appropriate books for everyone from babies to teenagers. The packs typically contain four books, and for younger children there is also an activity book such as a colouring book, puzzle, or sticker book, as well crayons and a bookmark, and in some cases a soft toy.
“WordPower aims to empower families, provide encouragement to parents and give opportunities to children and help them get school ready,” stated the organisers of the scheme. They also included in the pack information for parents and guardians to guide them when reading with children and inform them of how they might join a public library.
The information is also available on the SVP website, which promotes reading with children, stating: “just 10 minutes a day of reading with children of all ages can help create readers for life and make a crucial difference to their future.”
WordPower has published a suggested list of books to donate. This includes books for children aged 0 to 2 such as The Button Book. From 2 to 4 years the Just Because and The President’s Surprise are included. There are further suggestions of books for ages 5 to 8, 9 to 11, 12 to 14 and young adults. There are other suggestions under the categories of non-fiction, poetry, the environment, and nostalgic. Book suggestions are also made for inclusive and sensory books and books designed to build resilience.
WordPower is also a charity partner of Scholastic Books. When members of the public order books from the Scholastic Books website they can choose to donate 20 per cent in free books to a school or charity of their choice.
Scholastic Books has stated that it wants to help inspire readers. It highlights that children who read succeed and that reading can improve a child’s life chances forever.
For more information or to help see: https://www.svp.ie/wordpower2019.