FirstBook1A total of 40,000 books will be distributed from First Book, an organization that provides books to children in need, on Friday and Saturday, October 17-18 at the Inland Empire United Way.

Teachers, child care providers and other child-serving professionals will select their quantity of books designated for the needs of their children and students.

Ted Alejandre, deputy superintendent, San Bernardino County Superintendent of Schools and Dr. Tomás Morales, president of California State University, San Bernardino will be in attendance to experience the County receiving these much needed books.

“County Schools is pleased to participate with First Book in this very important event for the children of San Bernardino County,” Alejandre said. “Research shows that early literacy is essential to a student’s academic success. Providing children with books early on helps to develop a love of reading they will carry through their academic and adult life, contributing to life-long learning and future success.”

San Bernardino County Preschool Services Department, Children’s Fund, First 5 San Bernardino, Inland Empire United Way, Child Care Resource Center, County of San Bernardino Library, National CORE and San Bernardino County Superintendent of Schools have joined together as an Advisory Board to form “San Bernardino County First Book (SBCFB).  First Book provides access to new books for children in need, transforming the lives of children and elevating the quality of education by making new, high-quality books available on an ongoing basis

Learning to read is critical to a child’s success – both in school and in life.  Literacy is one of the best predictor’s of a child’s success. For children who are growing up in poverty; books are scarce. Only 42% of third graders in San Bernardino County are proficient in reading.

Through grassroots efforts and networking, the Advisory Board worked to get several schools and organizations registered (more than 675 registrants) to be eligible to receive books through First Book.  The books will be given to 20,000 children (each child will receive two books) to take home.

First Book President, Kyle Zimmer, founded First Book with two friends in 1992 to create an organization dedicated to providing new books to children in need.  In that first year, First Book distributed 12,000 books in three communities – and now deliver more than 35,000 new books on average per day.