‘I’m so grateful:’ thousands of free books donated to Nanaimo area youth | NanaimoNewsNOW

While in the midst of selecting the maximum of 250 books per registrant, Fall said about 100 of the books she chose will be split between their graduating seventh grade class and students completing kindergarten.

Sending students home for the summer with a book they way to read helps maintain literacy skills and enjoyment maintaining during July and August, Fall said

“We work hard for 10 months of the year to build not just the skills but also the love of reading because they go hand-in-hand — if you don’t have one you won’t have the other.”

Fall emphasized the value the First Book Canada event will have on students in her school, noting not only are many families strapped for cash, but libraries throughout the district constantly require boosts in new stock.

Fall was joined by several other appreciative school and service providers filling wagons, boxes and large bags full of complimentary books.

Registrants were required to state they were primarily serving low-income families and other young readers facing barriers in obtaining suitable books.

Event organizer Joy Gugeler said the timing for the event couldn’t be better with many families finding it harder than ever to make ends meet.

“Especially in this moment of inflation and high gas prices and so many challenges, to be able to spend money on a luxury like a book, and one book can be the gift that just keeps on giving.”

Gugeler, a VIU publishing, journalism and media studies professor, said many of the registrants represented schools and service providers in the south Nanaimo/Harewood areas.

Organizations between Ladysmith and Qualicum Beach as well as Port Alberni are taking advantage of the First Book Canada event.

Gugeler said 100 different titles were available and she expected all of the books on display to be claimed.

Nearly half of the books are picture based geared toward young readers between three and six-years-old, while the second largest collection targets seven to 12-year-olds, followed by books for high school students.

Gugeler said physical books play a pivotal role in developing literacy skills for young people who can be distracted by an increasingly digital world.

She said young readers connecting with words and pictures heightens their creativity.

“That makes them feel heard and seen and I think that’s so important to really encourage literacy at an early age and a lifelong love of reading,” she told NanaimoNewsNOW.

Gugeler said it’s unlikely a second First Book Canada event would be held in Nanaimo for several years as the non-profit strives to spread its goodwill to many different communities.

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