Backpack Beginnings focuses on feeding kids, encouraging them to read

GREENSBORO, N.C. -- Backpack Beginnings helps students stay focused by giving them food so they know they won’t have to miss a meal.

Now the group is also feeding young minds.

Getting children to read is the other priority.

The nonprofit is partnering with Ready for School, Ready for Life for its new program – Book Beginnings.

“Though we so support our libraries, and maybe the little free libraries that we see throughout the community, what's unique about Book Beginnings is the idea that these books belong to the families once they take them,” said Adriana Adams, early literacy implementation manager for Ready for School, Ready for Life.

Backpack Beginnings Founder and Executive Director Parker White says the partnership was an ideal match.

“We could be the collections and distributions end and they could be the ones going in discussing how to speak to your children and read to your children and the importance of reading,” she said.

The first bookshelf is at Warnersville Recreation Center in Greensboro.

The shelves are strategically placed in Guilford County communities to reach children who typically don’t have books in the home.

Organizers want to make sure the books are diverse and that there’s enough variety to serve bilingual families.

Books will be available for all age groups through high school, but there is a strong emphasis being placed on younger children.

“Eighty percent of brain development is happening in children zero to three,” Adams said.

Adams says in Guilford County, less than half of children are ready in language and communication skills when they arrive for kindergarten, which is part of why she encourages families to make early reading a priority.

A bookshelf was placed at Guilford Child Development’s Staley Center in High Point this week.

Book Beginnings is also partnering with the county’s WIC offices.

Bookshelves will be placed at Greensboro and High Point locations in early May.

You can drop off book donations at BackPack Beginnings located at 3707-D Alliance Drive in Greensboro.

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