School is back in session and I can hear my childrens’ teachers asking them what they read over the summer. Here’s where my cheeks flush a little with embarrassment, because I know they read a little bit before falling asleep or on a few car trips but it certainly wasn’t as much as they should have done.
I really did try to be the parent that set up a daytime routine for reading this summer; but honestly, I cannot compete with friends, pool time, Popsicles, video games, YouTube and all of the other fun things summer can bring. Afterall, we only get 18 summers with them and after working all day, having them do some chores, and making dinner I really just want to say “yes” to whatever they are asking to do…and that usually isn’t reading.
But I am ready for school to start and to get back into a better routine. Part of that routine means it’s time to bring back the book.
Here at DIBS for Kids (Delivering Infinite Book Shelves) we actually bring back LOTS of books! This year, we have roughly 15,000 books distributed across our 6 schools which include Fontenelle, Adams, Rose Hill, Conestoga, Minne Lusa, and brand new to us this year Skinner! We want to welcome them all back to school and can’t wait to serve them again! We know the need for books that can be read at home with students is substantial, and sometimes even overwhelming, but together we can set students on a path to having a lifelong love of reading.
What is DIBS for Kids?
We are a growing 501 (c)(3) literacy nonprofit headquartered here in Omaha, Nebraska. Our MISSION is to support Omaha to become the nation’s first large, urban community to ensure that every child, regardless of family income, has two things:
- Access to a great book to take home EVERY night.
- A desire to read that book for FUN as a path to achieving 3rd grade reading proficiency.
We know this sounds like a big job; and believe us, it is! But our community needs us and we will do whatever it takes to accomplish our mission. Did you know that 61% of students living in poverty do not have access to a single book in their home? This is not ok with us; so, 7 years ago our founder and CEO, David Orrick, decided to take action and do something about it.
What does DIBS do?
Here at DIBS for Kids, our passionate team works closely with community partners, schools and others to do a lot of different things to accomplish our mission.
- DIBS raises funds to equip elementary classrooms with high-interest, leveled books that students get to take home every night.
- DIBS helps teachers and students use our super cool, kid-friendly, web-based QR scanning technology to check in and out books in their OWN classrooms, everyday.
- DIBS gives kids the opportunity to read these books at home and return them the next day so they can check out another great book of their choice.
- Out technology tracks and reports student participation rates for teachers so that they can ensure kids are reading each night.
When we break it down to dollars spent just $19 provides DIBS for a student for a full year, allowing that student to take home on average 80 books per year!
Why does DIBS exist?
Books are available all over the place, right? Well not exactly. There are a lot of places in our very own city and all over this country that don’t have books our children can get to, can read, or will find very interesting for that matter. I know there are a lot of reasons why we exist but below are some of the big ones.
- Access: There are a lot of students around the country who don’t have access to books because they live in what are called book deserts or areas where age-appropriate printed materials are hard to come by without having transportation readily available. By putting books in the classroom and using it as a distribution point, our students are able to take home a high-interest, leveled book to read each night.
- Opportunities: You might be thinking: “What about the school library or the public library?” I love both of these places and am very grateful for all of the programs and opportunities they offer, from summer reading programs, to classes, to technology choices and literary guidance. Yet most students in schools get to go to their school library only once every 5 to 7 days as part of their school routine and public libraries often require that a parent or other adult in a student’s life has transportation to get there.
I am lucky enough to have reliable transportation. I know that reading is of the utmost importance. And I back my children’s public education with fierce faith, but between work, activities, and other responsibilities, getting to the library can be hard. By having classroom libraries where books are available for check-out each day, we are providing kids with on average 140 more opportunities for reading per school year.
- Teacher / Parent Partnerships: We all know how important it is for there to be a relationship between teachers and parents. Here at DIBS, we feel that we provide an opening for a conversation surrounding literacy between parents and teachers. We have a new part to our program this year called “DIBS Read-Alouds”. We will be working with teachers to send home the same book with all kids in a classroom, so that over the weekend they can share that book with their families, do an activity surrounding the book, knowing that on Monday they will also share that book with their classroom. We also feel like this will be wonderfully suited to reach those kids who haven’t typically opted into DIBS; providing them with an opportunity to be a part of a community of readers.
- Escape: We all have escape mechanisms that we use to just “get away for a bit”. Kids are no different. Growing up isn’t easy and for some kids it’s downright difficult, messy, and scary. Books offer freedom from that. Books provide experiences in their minds that they likely wouldn’t have otherwise. They are experiences kids can relate to, that can encourage them, that make them feel, dream, hope, and think differently. Personally, if I can do any of those things, if I can offer that type of freedom for just one student who needs an out, I will have done this job right.
- Stories Like These: The teachers, students, and parents we serve really say it best.
How Does DIBS Impact How You Encourage Reading at Home?
“I think that sometimes it’s a struggle for us knowing that we have to make sure we find that time and put our effort into that but it definitely does put that priority in our day that yes we have that DIBS book that we have to take a look at and read” – DIBS Parent
Want to know more about DIBS for Kids or help us with our mission?
- Go to DIBS for Kids to read more about us.
- Follow us and interact with us on social media @DIBSforKids.
- Read with those little ones in your life.
- Find a book that you love and share it with others.
Well I hope you have learned a little more about DIBS for Kids today and the need that exists in this community and around the country. If you find our mission intriguing, please know that we are happy to have you support us and even join us as we grow. And I promise I’ll work on the summer reading thing with my kids!
Hi there! My name is Marie Kovar. I am a former school psychologist and current school support director at DIBS for Kids. I’m also a wife to a wonderfully kind man and a mother to 2 wildly awesome kids, a fluffy dog named Lambeau and roughly 5 chickens. I truly enjoy reading, writing, languages, the great outdoors, traveling with my family and food… and not necessarily in that order.