Tommy Two Shoes Literacy Project for Children putting books in homes through unique partnership program
Queen Creek, AZ | Submitted by Courtney Horton
Getting kids excited about reading is one of the most important things that can impact future learning. Studies have shown that youth who have plenty of books at home perform better in school. Unfortunately, many children – especially those living in poverty – still lack access to literature at home. There’s where The Tommy Two Shoes Literacy Project for Children (TTS) comes in. This new literacy project provides books to students and families with the help of community partnerships to get kids excited about reading.
By connecting Maricopa County-area schools with local sponsors, the group is providing age-appropriate books for students, at no cost to the students or teachers. Schools with students in preschool through sixth grade are eligible and all they have to do is apply.
TTS was created after the founder’s wife, a second grade teacher, sought local business assistance to purchase a book for each of her students. It took a lot of work, but she was successful. TTS was developed to make that process easier for educators. A teacher can apply and TTS does the legwork to find a sponsor and pick an appropriate book from one of their partner publishers.
Once the partnership has been secured, the team plans a special Read Day Assembly at the school, where teachers, staff and sponsors can get the kids enthusiastic about reading. Students who have participated are excited about having their very own book to take home and enjoy. It’s a win for the sponsors, as well. They receive recognition in the book itself, and the sponsorship is also a tax write-off.
Helping to Improve Reading Skills
Third grade reading proficiency is one of eight indicators measured as part of the Arizona Education Progress Meter. Currently, fewer than half of Arizona third graders are proficient in reading, which puts many at risk for future academic challenges. TTS’s Reading Day Assemblies and free books are helping to make reading fun and exciting for youth, which will set the stage for future learning in all subjects. Kids continue talking about the books for weeks, and seem more engaged in reading. Schools and potential sponsors, can learn more on the website, ttsliteracyproject.org.