For the second year in a row, Judith’s Reading Room , a literacy nonprofit, provided outstanding children’s books to families served through Women, Infants, & Children (WIC) offices in the Lehigh Valley. Most WIC families cannot afford to send their children to pre-K or daycare facilities and their children frequently start kindergarten “not ready to learn.”
In collaboration with Casa Guadalupe in Allentown and Hispanic Center Lehigh Valley (HCLV) in Bethlehem, Judith’s Reading Room established their “Birth-2-Five” program to get books into WIC homes. Since 2013, the organization has donated 14,388 children’s books worth $118,236. In 2014, HCLV saw on average 2,500 people a month; Casa Guadalupe 3,500 for a grand total of 68,400 visits.
“WIC staff members provide key services to low income families. Our program also puts them on the front line of literacy,” according to Cathy Leiber, President, Judith’s Reading Room. Every month, Judith’s Reading Room delivers new and gently-read children’s books and bi-lingual posters and bookmarks that explain why reading to your child is important. For their part, WIC staff members ask parents to sign a “Pledge to Read” 20 minutes daily to their child. If the pledge is signed, a Judith’s Reading Room book is gifted to the family. “I have heard many families say if it was not for Casa and Judith’s Reading Room, there would not be books in the home,” said Dawn Bush, WIC Clinic Coordinator, Casa Guadalupe.
Judith’s Reading Room was established in 2010 in memory of Judith Krug, cousin to the founders and a librarian. Its mission is to promote the betterment of society by providing “Freedom Through Literacy.” Judith’s Reading Room provides books to deployed troops and to others who, for any reason, do not have access to books. At the close of 2014 the organization has opened 86 libraries around the world and in seven states containing more than 106,200 books valued at $1,073,425.