1000×5 children’s book project set to mark milestone


A group of dedicated volunteers — all retired educators — spend Wednesday mornings sorting through books at Rockheights Middle School in Esquimalt for 1000×5.

“Literacy is so important to me and to most of us here,” says 1000×5 Children’s Book Recycling Project volunteer Eileen Eby. “We’ve championed early literacy, all of us, in our careers.”

The 1000×5 Children’s Book Recycling Project is donating books to babies and preschoolers in Greater Victoria and it’s about to hit a big milestone.

“We have distributed 268,0000 pounds in Victoria, but if you combine us with the Peninsula Project and the West Shore Project, we are actually pumping 500,000 – half a million pounds into homes where families need it,” Eby said.

It’s based on the idea that if a child hears a thousand stories by age five — and that includes favorite stories repeated — they’ll be better prepared for kindergarten.

“It really provides lots of opportunities for families to start building early literacy skills for students and that’s crucial as they prepare to transition into our school system,” says the principal of Rockheights Middle School, Aaron Maxwell.

Pink book donation bins are set up at 37 local elementary schools and after being cleaned and sorted, between 800 and 2,500 books are distributed each month through partnerships with dozens of nonprofits like Mustard Seed.

“1000×5 has provided low-income families who regularly use our food bank with access to quality books,” says Diane Pearson of Mustard Seed. “Families love books and parents recognize the value of reading, reading and the world of stories for their children.”

“If you get it from the library, you have to take it back,” stresses longtime 1000×5 volunteer Anne Knoke. gift we give them is it enjoyable that they can enjoy and read again and again?”

Knoke, who has been a teacher for 35 years, has volunteered with 1000×5 since its inception over a decade ago.

“I love books and I think it’s such a gift to give a child a book, to sit curled up with a child reading, it’s such a wonderful experience,” Knoke says with a to smile.

Many volunteers have been involved with the 1000×5 Book Project since its inception 12 years ago and it is incredibly rewarding work.

“It makes me realize that I’m working towards a sense of purpose, of something that matters in society and I feel happy to be able to take the lead in that regard,” says Eby.

READ MORE: 1000×5 Children’s Literacy Project helps toddlers learn to read

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