Need to Read seeks to fill an alarming gap.
At Need to Read, Inc. (N2R), we envision a national collaborative where children are given developmental support, including educational resources and new technologies needed to grow up empowered for a lifetime of optimal success.
We believe by exposing children early in life to words, books, and digital reading materials, we are consequently making an investment in human development and growth. N2R is a non-profit platform created to help children age infant to five years old enhance pre-reading and literacy skills while combating childhood low literacy. Our organization provides families with resources that are lacking in their communities to foster literacy.
N2R endeavors to:
· Train parents and mobilize activities for creating an enriching reading environment in the home
· Raise funds to recreate our model to expand resources to households nationally
· Seek partnership with donors, volunteers, and like-minded agents of influence in business and the community
N2R is the vision of Central Florida businessman, Roderick Zak
Zak believes owning books and early access to reading resources helps create an environment that offers a greater chance for children to become successful in life. He recalls learning about the importance of early literacy and academic success while growing up in a poverty-stricken community where most parents were low literate or could not afford to purchase books for their children.
He has an impactful story of one day visiting a childhood friend and classmate who happened to be the “smartest kid in the school.” “It was the first time I saw someone my age with his own personal library,” notes Zak.“ ”I’ve never forgotten my initial shock at seeing a classmate with so many books.” From that day forward, I began to realize how powerful and important the printed word could be for my own academic and personal development. And, I promised myself if I ever had children, they would have books to read at home—not just library and school books – all types of books! “
Zak and his wife started reading to their four children when they were very young, and they’re proud to acknowledge that each of them became scholarship award recipients and esteemed college graduates.
Need To Read Pilot Program
N2R’s pilot program has laid the foundation for establishing a community wide, and eventually a nationwide, pre-reading program to combat low literacy among small children. Below is a summary of the initial roll out of the N2R initiative. In the first year of operation N2R has accumulated through in-kind and cash donations assets for the initiative worth over $120,000.00.
N2R’s first reading center is located 1 mile from South Apopka (photo below). The first book donation campaign garnered over 1200 titles. Our targeted households were identified through statistical data. Currently, over 70 children are being read to weekly.
On July 24th, 2018 N2R had its inaugural book giveaway and block party. Leading up to the event, volunteers visited fifty-four childcare centers, handed out books and invited the community to participate. Two hundred youth and adult volunteers visited thirteen hundred households in the Central Florida area leading up to and on the day of the event.
There was an amazing turn out, over 1000 people attending. There were over five thousand brand new books given away to children ages 0-5, each child receiving 6 or more books, impacting over 600 families.
The books had a value of more than $42,000.00. Backpacks and bicycles were also given away. N2R’s launch has already resulted in major media exposure which enhanced public awareness of the “Need to Read.” (Fox 35 News segment & extensive radio coverage)