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Launch of We give books

24 May 2010

The Penguin Group and the Pearson Foundation have launched an interesting new charitable venture, designed both to get children reading and to encourage them to become charitable givers. When a child reads a book online, they are able to donate another book to be sent to a reading charity and can choose from four options as to where their this book is sent. The site is free, so the child reads a book, as well as giving one.

The American version of the site concentrates more on American charities, including Haiti Learning Spaces, Books Across America, Room to Read and Books for Asia and the UK one offers Haiti Learning Spaces, Rom to Read, which helps build libraries in Southern Africa, and the Asia Foundation's Books for Asia programme, as well as Tinga Tinga Tales, supporting the Pearson Teacher Education Programme in East Africa.

The more you read, the more they give. First you choose the literacy organisation you want to support, then you choose a book and read it with a child. The books are chosen from Penguin and Dorling Kindersley's backlist.

Every campaign has its own donation goal. Once a campaign you've supported reaches its goal, you and your child will receive a personalised letter of thanks for your effort. The site will have new books added each month. If you're a member, you will be sent an email automatically to tell you when new books arrive.

The aim is to donate more than one million books in the initiative's first year. Visitors to the site will determine the volume shared with each organisation, as each time parents and youngsters read a new book they have the opportunity to select the organisation they wish their reading to support.

It's really a very simple idea and should generate a lot of reading and a lot of giving.

A poll has been carried out to find out what parents' attitudes are and it found that 90% of parents want to raise children who become "giving" adults, and 68% of parents believe a strong connection exists between reading to children and their later becoming charitable adults. Yet it's disturbing that the poll also reveals that many parents are not aware how reading and specific daily parenting practices can achieve this goal. Other studies reveal the clear effect that reading with your child will have on that child's educational progress and confidence, but there are still many adults who do not recognise this, or do not act upon it with their own children.

Free Books For Kids (new link added in April 2023 to replace dead links)