WordPlay will be co-organizing the second year of Ride for Reading in Cincinnati, along with Spun Bicycles, MoBo Bicycle Cooperative and Queen City Bike.
Ride for Reading is a Nashville based non-profit organization dedicated to promoting literacy and healthy living by donating books via bicycle to children from low-income areas.
According to the Handbook of Early Literacy Research, the ratio of books per child in low-income neighborhoods is 1 age-appropriate book for every 300 children—that’s what WordPlay and Ride for Reading are aiming to improve. Since their start in February 2008, Ride for Reading has donated more than 110,000 books to kids at Title I schools. “Getting books into the homes of families who don’t have them is a critical first step in improving literacy,” says WordPlay Executive Director Libby Hunter. “Many families appreciate reading greatly, but don’t have income beyond the basic necessities to prioritize a home library.”
Ride for Reading Week happens in May (National Bike Month), from May 5th to May 11th.
The group will be delivering books to their partner school, St. Boniface in Northside, on Wednesday, May 7th at 1:15 pm on the school playground (or in the gym if it rains). The children of St. Boniface will be greeted by a parade of bicyclists, who cruise up to the school toting books of all sorts. The bicyclists will present the children with the books and teach them about the importance of literacy as well as safe bicycling practices.
Last year was a huge success— the co-organizers and dedicated volunteers delivered over 400 books to students at St. Peter Claver Latin School for Boys in Over the Rhine. This year, they’re shooting bigger, aiming to deliver 1,200 to 1,500 books to the 220 students at St. Boniface.
There will be a kick-off potluck dinner for Ride for Reading open to the public Sunday, May 4th from 4-6 pm at Hoffner Park in Northside. All are welcome and encouraged to bring a dish to share.
Want to get involved? WordPlay and Ride for Reading can use your help from the community for the week’s events. Donations of new or gently used children’s books for preschool age through 8th grade are being accepted at WordPlay, Spun, Vice Mayor David Mann’s office at City Hall, and MoBo. Cyclists are also needed to help with delivery; the route begins in Over-the-Rhine, where the donated books are warehoused (thanks to Coffee Emporium), and ends at St. Boniface on Chase Avenue in Northside. Bicyclists carry the books to the school in backpacks, messenger bags and bike trailers. The books are then arranged by grade level on tables that are set up on the playground, where the big event will occur. The co-organizers also need volunteers to be at the school ahead of time to set up tables at noon on the day of delivery and stay their to help work the event—helping children choose books and such. They’re also graciously accepting donations to help cover the costs of the event.
For more info: Visit: wordplaycincy.org Call 513-260-8129 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
By Dylan McCartney
Dylan is the Journalism intern for WordPlay Cincy