CHICAGO, May 10 /PRNewswire/ -- An ambitious attempt to promote
literacy in Chicago will get under way next week when First Book(R)
(http://www.firstbook.org) and Encyclopaedia Britannica, Inc.
(http://www.britannica.com) join forces to rally the local community in
making sure all children have access to books.
First Book, the Washington, D.C.-based non-profit organization that has
put more than 46 million new books in the hands of children from low-income
families nationwide, will accelerate its work in the Chicago area, assemble
a Local Advisory Board, and undertake fundraising for local and national
The effort will kick off at a May 17 reception at Britannica's La Salle
Street headquarters, where First Book will meet Chicago-area educators and
civic leaders to discuss First Book's mission to combat illiteracy by
giving new books to children from low-income households, where books are
"First Book's mission is not to fight illiteracy, but to end it,"
explains Chandler Arnold, a senior vice president with First Book.
"Encyclopaedia Britannica stands as an example of how a strong corporate
citizen can team up with a passionate network of volunteers to do just that
-- in Chicago and across the country."
The facts about illiteracy are sobering. According to a recent study,
the ratio of "age appropriate" books in some U.S. communities is as low as
one for every 300 children. First Book redresses these shortages by
distributing new books to children through networks of community and
family-literacy organizations. These books are selected by program
administrators, incorporated into program curricula, and then given to the
children to take home and keep.
Britannica and First Book are partners in one such effort, called
"Encyclopedias for All." It provides high-quality reference works to
schools and programs serving children from low-income families with the
help of donations from corporations and individuals.
Britannica officials say their experience with First Book has been so
positive they're motivated to do more.
"We've had a reading crisis in this country for decades, and with a few
exceptions we haven't made much progress in solving it," said Michael Ross,
a senior vice president with Britannica. "First Book is making a
difference. Their program makes sense, it's well run and it works. We want
to help them any way we can."
About First Book
First Book is a nonprofit organization with a single mission: to give
children from low-income families the opportunity to read and own their
first new books. Through hundreds of local Advisory Boards, the First Book
National Book Bank, and the First Book Marketplace, the organization
provides an ongoing supply of new books to children participating in
community-based mentoring, tutoring, and family literacy programs. First
Book has provided more than 46 million new books to children in need in
thousands of communities nationwide. For more information about First Book,
please visit http://www.FirstBook.org.
About Encyclopaedia Britannica
Encyclopaedia Britannica, Inc. (http://www.britannica.com) is a leader
in reference and education publishing whose products can be found in many
media, from the Internet to cell phones to books. A pioneer in electronic
publishing since the early 1980s, the company also still publishes the
32-volume Encyclopaedia Britannica, along with services such as Britannica
Online School Edition and new printed products such as Britannica Student
Encyclopedia, which are available online at http://store.britannica.com.
Britannica's editorial operation is overseen by some of the world's most
distinguished scholars. The company makes its headquarters in Chicago.
SOURCE Encyclopaedia Britannica, Inc.