Deacons want dollars for books

Julie Bard joins Michigan Deacons and Diaconal Ministers promoting childhood literacy.
The Michigan Deacons, Diaconal Ministers, and Julie Bard are excited to promote awareness about and action for childhood literacy.

Why does this matter? The statistics are staggering:

  • 61% of low-income families have no books at all in their homes for their children. (Reading Literacy in the United States: Findings from the IEA Reading Literacy Study, 1996)
  • 80% of preschool and after-school programs serving low-income populations have no age-appropriate books for their children. (Neuman, Susan B., et al. Access for All: Closing the Book Gap for Children in Early Education. Newark, DE: International Reading Association, 2001, p. 3)
  • The single most significant factor influencing a child’s early educational success is an introduction to books and being read to at home prior to beginning school. (National Commission on Reading, 1985)
  • In middle-income neighborhoods the ratio of books per child is 13 to 1, in low-income neighborhoods, the ratio is 1 age-appropriate book for every 300 children. (Neuman, Susan B. and David K. Dickinson, ed. Handbook of Early Literacy Research, Volume 2. New York, NY: 2006, p. 31)

What can we do about it?

Deacons around Michigan are working with organizations that need books and/or can distribute books for free to the children in their communities. We are teaming up with Scholastic Literacy Partnerships and Cokesbury so churches can purchase age appropriate books at a lower cost.

Churches can complete the Scholastic order form and include a check made out to Michigan Conference Treasurer (NOT to Scholastic) and write on the Memo Line: Deacon Book Collection. Please turn in the form and check during Annual Conference to the table outside the Michigan Ballroom. Download the Scholastic Order Form here.

Churches may also purchase books from the Cokesbury store during Conference to donate to the Literacy Project. Our goal is to collect 1,000 books which will be distributed all around the state of Michigan.

For more information about childhood literacy visit:

Questions? Contact the Rev. Kathy Pittenger at or phone 248-505-5848.



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