Home Community Voices ReadyKids! Gifts 2,000 Books to Local Children

ReadyKids! Gifts 2,000 Books to Local Children

In the heart of our community, a beacon of hope and learning shines brightly as ReadyKids!, a local nonprofit dedicated to increasing kindergarten readiness, makes a significant impact by donating over 2,000 books to pre-kindergarten children this school year.

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ReadyKids! has long been a champion for early literacy, understanding the critical role it plays in a child’s development. Their annual book distribution program is a testament to their commitment to ensuring that every child has access to quality reading materials, regardless of their background or circumstances. These books serve as a gateway to new worlds, sparking imaginations and inspiring a lifelong love for reading.

Each month, books are thoughtfully selected to enhance what children are learning in the classroom while also supporting important life skills such as manners, sharing, and regulating emotions. Favorite titles have included “Kindness to Share from A-Z,” “The Whales on the Bus,” “Penguin Says Please,” Everywhere Wonder,” and the endearing classic, “If You Give a Mouse a Cookie.”

This month, ReadyKids! surprised Pre-K students with a book and plushie combo just in time for Spring Break. Thanks to a grant from the Sunstone Project, students got to choose which book and huggable reading companion they wanted to take home from newer literary gems including “Not Quite Narwhal,” “Tiny T-Rex and the Impossible Hug,” “Perfectly Pegasus,” and “Con Pollo.”

Plushies – or ‘book buddies’ as ReadyKids! lovingly calls them – enhance the reading experience for children by offering comfort, sparking imagination, increasing a child’s connection to the story and characters, and empowering read-aloud experiences.

Ms. Walker, Pre-K teacher at C.A. Weis Elementary and long-time classroom partner of ReadyKids! shares, “My students are so excited every month to see what their new book will be. We enjoy reading it together as a class and then discussing their favorite parts or characters. It energizes them to then read the book at home with their grown-ups. Some of my students don’t have access to books at home, so this monthly gift from ReadyKids! makes a difference that I believe will have a lasting impact.”

To accompany the monthly book donations, the ReadyKids! team designs interactive reading tips and conversation prompts to encourage families to make deeper connections with the stories they’re reading. These include special recipes for baking together, nighttime routines to inspire quality time while boosting vocabulary, and instructions on how to do picture walks that incorporate skills beyond reading, such as counting, comprehension, and problem-solving.

The impact of the ReadyKids! book distribution program extends beyond the books themselves. By providing families with resources and guidance, ReadyKids! is empowering caregivers to become active participants in their children’s learning journey, which helps to create a supportive and nurturing environment for children to thrive. Reading together not only strengthens bonds between family members and children but also helps to build essential skills for success both in school and in life.

Outside of the classroom, ReadyKids! strives to meet families where they are. Through attendance and leadership at more than a dozen community events and resource fairs over the past six months, ReadyKids! has shared the gift of reading with hundreds more children. From leading live story time sessions, donating books and school supplies, offering direct-to-phone resources for families, and facilitating hands-on literacy-based crafts, the message from ReadyKids! is clear: reading is fundamental, and it is meant to be enjoyed by all.

ReadyKids! has long understood the importance of community involvement in supporting early childhood education, but it is thanks to their partnerships with local business sponsors, family foundations, and individual donors that their monthly book distribution program continues to flourish.

With more than 10,000 books donated to children throughout Pensacola over the past four years, it’s evident that a significant impact can be made when our community comes together to support its youngest learners.

Learn more about the ReadyKids! at ReadyKidsFL.org.

Kristy Craig, Executive Director, ReadyKids! Reach me at: 850-380-3652 or Kristy@ReadyKidsFL.org

*Note from Local Pulse Editor: Kristy Craig is a part of our Community Voices series. Community Voices is a group of Pensacola dwellers that are making a difference in our city by sharing best practices, experiences, their perspective on impactful subjects, and contributing expertise that leads to movement forward for a stronger community.