BREAD FOR THE HEAD
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Where

BREAD evaluates and selects those Kids Café sites at which staffers evidence the commitment and ability to foster reading and nurture reading communities.

As Kids Cafes feed children’s bodies, BREAD nourishes their equally hungry minds and imaginations.

Why

New Books?

Beautiful, quality books tempt reluctant readers, and reinforce the importance of the activity of reading. No one is lured by tatty discards. No child should associate reading with the odor of mold. New books send clear messages. Reading is fun. Reading is valuable. The child is valuable.

Pleasure reading?

Pleasure reading is no indulgence, but a necessity. Unless a child comes to associate reading with pleasure, she will not read as a lifetime activity. As literacy expert Jim Trelease reminds us in The Read-Aloud Handbook, we are selling reading to children. We cannot bore them into that purchase, and “every worksheet is an ad for pain.”

Reading communities?

Many non-profit groups distribute books in bulk, without regard to the eventual readers or their interests. Books are tossed at agencies and children, like fish to the seals. But as Jim Trelease aptly notes in The Read-Aloud Handbook, “[n]either books nor people have Velcro sides —we don’t naturally attach to each other. In the beginning there must be a bonding agent — parent, relative, neighbor, teacher, or librarian — someone who attaches child to book.”

BREAD creates and fosters bonding communities of readers. In communities, children can expect that:

  • Adults will read aloud to you
  • Adults will recommend and discuss books that they themselves have read
  • New, quality books, magazines and newspapers will be available
  • Library use will be encouraged
  • Information on free author readings and lectures will be posted
  • Book clubs will be fostered
  • A comfortable, welcoming environment will permit you to lose yourself in a book

How

BREAD tailors activities to each site. In neighborhoods from Austin to Bronzeville to Logan Square to Harvey to Pilsen, BREAD:

  • Conducts trips to bookstores, where children can select books of their own to take home
  • Furnishes and stocks comfortable, attractive reading rooms, with books selected in consultation with children and agency staff
  • Obtains library cards and arranges library tours
  • Conducts read-alouds
  • Arranges mini-bookfairs for children unable to travel
  • Provides book lists and new books to encourage the formation of book discussion groups
  • Donates newspaper and magazine subscriptions
  • Provides magnetic poetry kits, in English and Spanish
  • Presents to parent groups on the importance of read-aloud, and other strategies to engage children in reading