Q. What kind of books does Book Worm Angels want?
A. New or gently used books for recreational reading – fun books – suitable for children from pre-kindergarten through the 8th grade. No encyclopedias, textbooks or religious books, please.
Q. How do you collect your books?
A. Book drives are held at schools, churches, synagogues and community organizations. We provide a Book Drive Collection Kit. We will pick your books up for larger collections.
Q. How many books can you expect from a book drive?
A. Typically, we collect around 1,500 books per drive. We have had much greater results when there has been good publicity and incentives, such as pizza parties, provided by the drive organizers.
Q. I thought schools had their own libraries. Why do they need books?
A. Most schools do have libraries. Usually, however, the kids can’t take the books home – they must use them in school. In addition, the range of books for the pure entertainment of reading is somewhat limited, especially in the schools we target.
Q. So where do the books you provide go? Do they go to the school library?
A. No, they go directly into the classrooms. The teachers select the books they feel are appropriate for their classes. This way the right books get to the right classes.
Q. You’ve said there is no penalty if a book is lost or damaged. Don’t you lose a lot of books?
A. Our experience is a loss of 5-7%. If a book is “lost,” it may have found its way to someone’s home library, and that’s OK with us! Our goal is to make it a lot easier and less “threatening” for a kid to borrow a book. In any event, every year we replenish the books for every school in the program equal to about 25% of the number of books they were originally given. This means that every 4 to 5 years the schools have a complete turnover of “new” books.
Q. What schools receive the books you collect?
A. The books go to schools where the most of students read below grade level or have a majority of poverty-level students.
Q. How can I help?
A. Organize a book drive, volunteer, or make a donation. Funds are used for delivery of books from the donor schools to the recipient schools.
For more information contact Mindy Ferber at 773-332-8091 or email@example.com.
To make a donation, please donate online or send checks payable to Book Worm Angels to: Book Worm Angels, P.O. Box 578482, Chicago, IL 60657. We’ll send you a receipt with our thanks. We’re a 501(c)(3) charitable organization, registered with both the federal and state governments.
Q. How many books are needed?
A. We give each school in our program 10 books per student. Most schools have about 600 students. So, we need 6,000 books to “open” a new school. Then, since there is no penalty for lost or damaged books, we replenish the books each year. On average, it takes about 1,500 books per year to maintain each school.
Q. Is there any way to quantify the success of the program?
A. We conduct an annual survey of teachers who participate in the program. The vast majority of respondents in our latest survey believe the Book Worm Angels program improves reading skills and encourages students to read more. The improvement in reading test scores in schools which have had the Book Worm Angels program for more than 6 months in the city of Chicago was more than double the all-school average improvement.
Q. Do you try to get parents involved?
A. Yes. The principal sends a letter home to parents asking them to turn off their radios, TVs, and other electronics, and spend time reading with their child.
Q. Do parents of children in Book Worm Angels schools really get involved?
A. Not 100% of them. We are told that a lot of them do spend the requested 20 minutes a day reading with their children. Further, some schools have “Reading Nights” and the schools give a book to any parent who comes. One child’s parents recently told a principal that after the children go to bed, they read the books their kids have brought home to each other.
Q. When you have book drives, do you get the books you want — new or slightly used fun books suitable for Pre-K through 8th grades?
A. Yes! 99% of the books we receive are appropriate. Very few donors are using this as an opportunity to “clean out their attics.”
Q. The Chicago schools teach writing as well as reading. Does Book Worm Angels help in this area as well?
A. Yes. In the Teacher’s Manual we give to each principal and teacher, there are a number of suggested forms and ideas about how do to book reports. Some are outlines to encourage the children to submit written book reports.
Q. Is this program limited to Chicago schools?
A. At present, we are providing books to Chicago Public Schools that rank in the bottom half based on reading scores. We have recently added schools in Aurora, IL, South Holland, IL, Gary, IN, Hammond, IN, Atlanta, GA, and Boston, MA, Charleston, SC and will continue to expand our program.
Q. Are donations of books to Book Worm Angels deductible as a charitable gift?
A. Yes. Book Worm Angels is a 501(c)(3) charitable organization.