Here’s a holiday tradition all of us at CLiF wholeheartedly endorse.
A Book On Every Bed is a program developed by the advice columnist Amy Dickinson together with Ithaca, NY’s Family Reading Partnership (whose executive director, Brigid Hubberman, was the keynote speaker at CLiF’s 2013 Community Literacy conference). The idea — and the concept can be adjusted for any holiday — is that every child wakes up on Christmas morning to a wrapped book at the foot of his or her bed.
Anyone in a household with children can do this. A book is an affordable, meaningful gift. As the first gift in the holiday batting order, it reinforces the value of books to the child. And — the parents on CLiF’s staff love this part — kids can open and read the book right away, buying adults a few more minutes to sleep.
The Vermont twin towns of Lunenberg and Gilman are leveraging their CLiF Community Literacy grant to promote a community-wide Book On Every Bed. CLiF’s local Community Literacy grant coordinator Kat Colby and her board wanted to make sure every single kid was included in the program, so they thought up a creative way to get full involvement.
“We decided to have teachers and caregivers choose one book per child for the program to ensure that no one would be left out,” Kat explained. “Teachers really enjoy getting to personally choose a book for their students. We have advertised to families what we’re doing and invited them in for a Family Night to gift wrap their child’s book. The books will be distributed by teachers and caregivers before our holiday break and be placed on the end of the child’s bed on Christmas Eve or another special night for families.”
In her 2012 column about A Book On Every Bed, Amy Dickinson wrote, “In the morning, the children in your household will awaken to a gift that will far outlast any toy: literacy. I know this for sure: No matter who you are or what you do, reading will unlock untold opportunities, mysteries and passions. When you have a book and the ability to tell, read and share stories, you gain access to the universe of others’ imaginations. And avid readers know that if you have a book, you are never alone.”