Laundromats & Literacy

© Casey Toth/Raleigh News & Observer/TNS Elias Benitez, 3, left, listens to Nadiah Porter, Community Partnerships Manager for Book Harvest, as she reads to him during a program called ‘Wash & Learn,’ which engages children at laundry mats across the country, at The Wash House on June 19, 2019, in Durham, N.C.

Thanks to The Wash & Learn program laundromats in North Carolina cities are becoming reading spaces where families can read and learn while they wash their clothes.

A partnership between Book Harvest, The Wash House laundromats, and Libraries Without Borders is responsible for implementing the program.

“We want to make sure families have access to books and those books are everywhere in our community,” Rachel Stine, the program director for Book Harvest said. “Rather than having families look for those resources, we are meeting them where they are.”

Typical families using laundromats are right at or below the national poverty level and those children often do not have libraries at home. Reading and being read to is one of the most important factors when determining future school performance. That is why this type of program is so important. Getting the books to the families instead of expecting the families to go to the books.

Wash & Learn was launched four years ago in a poor neighborhood in NYC. They look for “dead zones” were books are not prevalent in high poverty areas.

Books are so important, and the average person may not have any idea just how important they are to the future success and literacy of children. Thanks to programs like Wash & Learn, and others, we can close the learning gap and put books into these kid’s hands that may not have books at home.

There is something special about having a book to call you own, and there is a special bonding that happens when an adult read a book to a child. Thanks to Wash & Learn both of those things are happening and hopefully this program is replicated across the country.

To learn more about Wash & Learn and their locations, see the Libraries Without Borders website.

Source: Tuscaloosa News



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