Make Way for Books offers early education to young Tucson residents

TUCSON, Ariz. (KGUN) – Make Way for Books is a grassroots nonprofit that works with families and educators across Arizona to introduce the joy of reading to children from birth to age 5, without fees for program participants.

Make Way for Books CEO Jenny Volpe says helping infants, toddlers and young children build language skills before they start school can benefit their comprehension skills up to in high school.

Now operating with a staff of 32 and hundreds of volunteers, Make Way for Books was founded by Dr Mary Jan Bancroft in 1998 with the support of six volunteers after seeing a need for quality books and literacy resources in many preschools and daycares serving low-income communities in Tucson.

Since its inception, Make Way for Books has grown to provide bilingual early literacy programs, books, virtual learning and resources that impact over 18,000 young children, families and educators across the country. Arizona every year.

“75% of children who participated in the Make Way for Books program during their pre-kindergarten years scored at or above benchmarks on standardized reading assessments given in kindergarten, grades 1, 2, and 3 years,” according to Make Way for Study of Sample Books.

Getting books into the hands of young children has always been central to the organisation’s mission: in the 2019-2020 program year, Make Way for Books provided more than 31,000 quality books to classrooms. classroom and children’s homes, according to their 2020-2021 annual report. report.

But it’s not just physical books that this nonprofit distributes. Make Way for Books, like many educational institutions during the pandemic, has adapted a number of its in-person programs to virtual platforms.

Their History School, a two-generation program where children and parents attend weekly group learning sessions, has gone virtual due to COVID-19. The new approach included a mix of core curriculum videos, live learning sessions with family literacy specialists, and an opportunity to connect and reflect with the Make Way for Books community in a learning space virtual family.

I never thought I would have a library in my house. But now we do and it’s great. We received all these great books from Make Way for Books – 20 books to fill our library at home. This program showed me the importance of reading with our children, how it will have a big impact on them.

Virtual History School Participant

The annual report quantifies that 91% of participating families feel more connected to other members of the community thanks to the online learning platform.

Families participating in the program receive free books and also have access to the Make Way for Books app, which offers more than a conventional hardcover book can offer.

“The Make Way for Books app has now been scaled to provide bilingual early literacy and learning support and quality books to thousands of families across Arizona, United States and even abroad,” according to the 2020-21 annual report.

Access to multilingual literary resources has proven to be beneficial according to the report’s figures.

“89% of families share more books with their children as a result of their participation in our programs,” the report states. “We provided culturally appropriate books where children and families can see their own stories and learn about others, as well as books in families’ native languages.”

In 2022, Make Way for Books is offering a hybrid version of its programs that will retain virtual components and reintroduce in-person opportunities.

Additional programs provided by Make Way for Books are designed to support educators.

The Story Project offers professional development workshops and coaching to enable effective methods of integrating literacy and language-rich interactions into their classrooms.

96% of education sites are richer in literacy as a result of their participation in our programs.

94% of educators feel more connected to their professional peers through the program.

Place aux livres Annual report 2020-21

Make Way for Books is able to provide its programs free of charge to children, families and educators with the support of donors.

For more information on the different program areas of Make Way for Books:


Make Way for Books lays the foundation for success with a focus on children’s literacy

Make Way for Books aims to help Arizona’s reading crisis

‘Make Way For Books’ app encourages children to read ebooks

Anne Simmons is a digital content producer for KGUN 9. Anne made her television debut while still a student at the University of Arizona. Prior to joining KGUN, she managed several public access television stations in the Bay Area and worked as a video producer in the nonprofit sector. Share your story ideas and important issues with Anne via email [email protected] or by connecting to Instagram or LinkedIn.

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