Expanding minds, one load at a time
Inculcating a love of reading in children is always an on-going effort for parents and educators, alike. The Pasedena Star-News reports on an amazingly original grass roots initiative to do just that:
For about four years, a devoted group of women have been trekking to local laundromats lugging not detergent bottles and boxes of softener, but baskets of books.
Members of the local Delta Nu Chapter of Delta Kappa Gamma Society International, the women handpick children’s book titles from all interests and reading levels, leave them at the laundromats ….
“It’s our goal to make reading a part of the everyday experience of all children and we hope that our Laundromat Literacy program helps local families enjoy time together with books while their clothes spin clean,” said Mary Ellen Carhill.
According to the Star-News, “This project is one of many homegrown programs supported by the DKG Chi State LIFE (Learning Is For Everyone) Foundation which supports special projects related to learning and literacy within California.” It is also supported by several local groups and individuals, including the local library, teachers and their families.
“Children who come to the laundromat with their parents are there for two hours or more,” member Carol Harmon told the Star-News. “We hope they will spend their time with some of our books to develop a love of reading.”
Members of the initiative say they are happiest when some of the books disappear. “We’re ‘secretly’ delighted when we come up a few books short each delivery, because we know someone has loved a book so much they had to take it home to read again,” said Susan Hamilton, a retired Glendora teacher and committee chairwoman.
And who knows, perhaps they are also helping to develop a love of doing laundry….
Valerie Merians is the co-founder and co-publisher of Melville House.