Children who have more to read at home are more proficient in reading, according to the Educational Testing Service. Pi Beta Phi, along with America Reads, is working to give children those materials in their annual book drive, which began Jan. 30.
The two organizations will be hosting an event to distribute donated books to local Easton children on March 2. The event is part of Literacy Day, a campus-wide event that is sponsored by the Landis Center. Approximately 30 to 35 children from elementary schools in the Easton area will participate in the activities.
The book drive will last through Feb. 10. Pi Phi and America Reads are collecting donated books from students and faculty members during this time in boxes located around campus.
Lucy Moeller, a member of Pi Phi, is helping coordinate the book drive.
“The main reason that many children don’t know how to read is due to the lack of books they are able to obtain, so the book drive is an efficient way to provide these resources,” Moeller said.
Moeller added that Pi Phi hosts many events related to children’s literacy, so their intentions and initiatives mesh well with America Reads.
“Our goal is to promote awareness of the fact that many children are unable to read at their grade level,” Moeller said.
According to Zaki Phelan, a Team Leader for America Reads, all of the books collected in the drive will be used in a book fair. During the fair, the children will be invited to take as many books as they would like.
Phelan explained that there is always a theme for Literacy Day. This year, the theme is Celebration of World Cultures and Diversity. During the literacy day activities, children will be given a passport to use as they travel through different literacy-themed games and books.
“In previous years, themes for this day have been space, science and the ocean,” Phelan said. “The theme of diversity will not only be relevant to these kids, but it will also give them an introduction to a very prevalent issue.”
In accordance with the theme of diversity, the organization chose “The Name Jar” by Yangsook Choi as their book of the year. The story follows a young Korean girl who struggles with the anxiety of having a foreign name in America.
Moeller said Pi Phi has been heavily involved in spreading awareness for the need for books. In past years, up to 200 books have been collected. Moeller added that all of the extra books from the book fair are given to Pi Beta Phi to donate to an organization of their choosing.