“Last year we had a tornado the day before the event,” Wood told the Kiwanis Club of Cleveland.
“Our campus was hit pretty hard. Trees that had been there for years were knocked over. We had no electricity the day before the event. I was ready to call it off.”
Administration told her to keep with the plan. Maintenance cleared the debris and electricity returned to the campus.
More than 800 children showed up the following day to hear stories and receive a free book.
Wood says the event has really gained momentum.
“I think one of the best reasons they come is they know they are going to get a free book,” Wood said. “For many children, that is a luxury. They do not have the money or their parents do not see the need to have books in the home.”
This year “The Sleep Book” by Dr. Seuss will be honored at the event.
According to Wood, the book was written to help put children to sleep at night.
Several copies have been bought to be given away as door prizes, in addition to other goods like book buddy bags. These bags come with a book and card activities.
Wood said books to be expected at the event are “The Sleep Book,” “Mr. Brown Can Moo,” and “Marvin K. Mooney.” Children will have a choice of which one they want. A total of 850 books have been bought for the event.
Chris Newton, Kiwanis president, presented Wood with a $3,750 check in support of the event.
“By the age of 2, children who are read to regularly display greater language comprehension, larger vocabularies and higher cognitive skills than their peers,” Wood said.
“It is important what [Kiwanis does], even if it feels like what you are doing is something small.”
Wood said, “Just putting a book in a child’s hand and teaching them literacy is important.”
She presented a sheet of facts on literacy in America which included:
- One child in four grows up not knowing how to read.
- More than 70 percent of inmates in America’s prisons cannot read above a fourth-grade level.
- Half of youths with a history of substance abuse have reading problems.
- If a child is not reading proficiently in the fourth grade, he or she will have approximately a 78 percent chance of not catching up.
The event will be held at the Cleveland State Community College campus in the school’s library. The event will be held on March 9, from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. Volunteers are welcomed.
“It is something you really need to do and volunteer for,” urged Newton. “...I think it is important for us to continue to help support this program.”