Big Box of Books’s Big Box of Books Program is a unique effort that not only puts books into the hands of vulnerable families, but also arms families with the tools needed to make the most out of reading aloud with their loved ones.

Twice a year, families come together with community volunteers to stage learning and sharing sessions, 90-minute programs where participants tour stations that highlight activities and tips for reading aloud with loved ones. Teachers, librarians and other volunteers demonstrate reading aloud, suggest ways to interact with the books, and point families to school and library resources that can enhance their reading experiences.


The sessions also stress the knowledge building aspect of the Big Box of Books program; each box of books revolves around core topics — examples might range from books about numbers and counting, to books about overcoming obstacles, to tales of space exploration and the solar system — that ignite a family’s curiosity and, most important, provide a stage for bonding, learning, and having fun while reading.

To find out more about the Big Box of Books Program — whether to bring it to your area or to help support our efforts — contact Bob Robbins,


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Join the 15 Minute Movement!

Make Reading Aloud with Children Part of Every Day

March is National Reading Awareness Month! But, it’s not just a celebration of the joy of reading. It’s also a time to recognize that not everyone has discovered this joy.  In fact, nearly half the children in the U.S. — 13 million children — will not hear a bedtime story tonight. This disturbing fact is why the folks at have launched a 10-year campaign to change parental behavior by encouraging them to read aloud with their kids for at least 15 minutes every day.

Maybe “encouraging” is too mild -- “imploring” parents to read to their kids is probably a better term, due to how vitally important this simple practice is to the development and long-term success of our children. A recent study has shown that 61% of low-income families don’t have any children’s books at home. In some areas, there may be only one book title available for every 300 children. That’s why’s 15 Minute Movement will target all children and families, seeking to bridge the gap between low- and high-income families’ academic outcomes.

It seems easy enough, but we all know how books and reading have been getting more and more competition from television and other electronic media, and life has gotten busier and more complicated, leaving less  quality time for parents and children to enjoy together. Hence these simple directions:

Read Aloud. 15 MINUTES. Every child. Every parent. Every day.

“We want to change social norms,” says co-founder Candace Kendle. “We want to see reading aloud every day for 15 minutes become one of the essential routines of child care, as normal as daily tooth brushing.”

This unprecedented effort will unite diverse groups that touch the lives of children from birth to age 8 under its single, powerful message. Read Aloud affiliates in Northern Michigan, Cincinnati and Pittsburgh have already rallied groups as diverse as McDonald’s franchises, Rotary Clubs, Friends of the Library, and elementary schools to the cause of reading aloud.

“The response we’ve had at the local level has been amazing,” says executive director and co-founder Bob Robbins. “Businesses, teachers, librarians, health care workers … they all recognize the importance of what we’re trying to do, and they’re all drawn to our simple, but powerful message."

Throughout the month of March, Read Aloud affiliates will stage events that spread awareness about the importance of reading aloud every day. Then the campaign will continue its efforts year-round, punctuated with ramp-ups around the start of the school year as well as the end of the school year to help combat the “summer slide."’s 10-year campaign to bring the "15 Minutes" message to life will unite diverse organizations that touch the lives of young children: educators, librarians, civic groups, health care workers, and local businesses. These people all recognize the importance of reading aloud, and we at do too. Why? Because reading aloud every day is the single most important thing you can do to prepare your child to learn.

Unfortunately, many parents and caregivers aren’t aware of the power of 15 minutes of daily reading aloud. Here are some benefits:

 ·       Some children begin kindergarten having been read to as few as 25 hours, while their peers may have been read to as many as 1,000 hours. Every time you read to your child you are improving their learning advantage.

·       By age four, low-income children have heard an average 32 million fewer words than their wealthy peers. Reading aloud is a key way to introduce new vocabulary.

·       Even in higher-income households, nearly 40% of families do not read aloud every day.

·       If a child is not reading at grade level by the end of the first grade, then there is an 88% probability the child will not be reading at grade level by the end of the fourth grade.

Reading aloud can easily become part of a family’s daily routine. Read with children before bedtime or naptime or after mealtime. Make it fun! Don’t forget funny voices, sound effects, acting out parts of the story, and asking lots of questions. Even a very young child can look at pictures, practice turning the pages, and hear you talk about the story.

Remember: A child is never too young to learn that books are fun, engaging, and something that your family values.

Join the 15 Minute Movement today!