Thursday, May 13, 2021

Books for Collier Kids Fact Sheet

One million new books to children in need since 2005

Submitted Photo

Importance of Books for Collier Kids: 

  • Literacy is one of the best predictors of a child’s future success.
  • A lack of basic literacy skills is linked with academic failure, delinquency, teenage pregnancy, substance abuse, unemployment, low productivity and welfare dependency. 
  • Nationally, in some of the lowest-income areas there is only one book for every 300 kids.  
  • Children whose parents are unable to read tend to struggle with reading too, perpetuating a cycle of poverty.
  • Low-income children without access to books experience the “summer slide;” starting fall classes with reading scores 30% lower than students with steady access to books.
  • By the end of 5th grade, children-in-need are nearly three grades behind in reading skills.
  • 64% of Collier County School District’s 22,000 elementary students are economically needy; Collier County School District has designated 68.42% of the students as “economically disadvantaged” across all schools.
  • 21 of Collier County’s 30 elementary schools are Title I schools where a majority of students are from low-income families where at least 75% of students enrolled in the free and reduced lunch program.
  • An average of 90% of children in Title I elementary schools are economically disadvantaged children and benefit from our free book program.

“My four-year-old carries all her books from Books for Collier Kids in her backpack every single day. At night, we read them together to her little brother. Then, she puts those books right back into her backpack to keep them safe.” ~ Parent of a student at Fun Time Early Childhood. Academy 

Books for Collier Kids: 

  • Launched in 2005 as First Book-Collier County to provide new books to children in need, addressing one of the most important factors affecting literacy — access to books.
  • Recognized for dedication to providing access to literacy by CC School Board in 2010. 
  • Changed its name in 2015 to Books for Collier Kids; this leading chapter of the award-winning national nonprofit, First Book, changed its name to reflect its focus on disadvantaged children in pre-K, kindergarten, first and second grades across Collier County.
  • Early childhood experts select top-quality, age-appropriate books that are purchased in-bulk, at heavily discounted prices, through The First Book Marketplace.
  • Added Palmetto and Poinciana Elementary schools to the program in 2017; Naples Park, Sabal Palm and Calusa Park were added in 2018 as these were designated as Title I schools.
  • Supports the curriculum in more than 380 classrooms in Collier County.
  • Distributes books in every Title I school, Head Start pre-K and VPK program in the county.
  • Provides more than 100,000 new books to Collier County students each year.
  • Gives a new book each month to some 8,000 children to develop their personal home libraries.
  • Collaborates with Habitat for Humanity and Christ Child Society of Naples to provide more than 100 “starter home libraries” to low-income families in our community.

Partners with numerous organizations to get Books for Collier Kids into the hands of children, including: Fun Time Early Childhood Academy, Collier County Public Schools, Early Literacy and Learning Model (ELLM), Friends of Foster Children Forever, Grace Place for Children & Families, Guadalupe Center for Immokalee, Immokalee Housing & Family Services, NCH Healthcare System and Youth Haven.

“The children’s faces just light up when it’s Books for Collier Kids day.” ~ Amanda Kubin, reading coach, Lely Elementary School.

Books for Collier Kids’ Success: 

  • Measurable improvements in Collier County School District children’s reading scores since material distribution began in 2005.
  • Survey ratings of more than 98% for value and effectiveness.
  • Thriving partnerships with more than 20 local nonprofits serving disadvantaged children.
  • Praise and appreciation from Collier County School Board and Superintendent Dr. Patton.
  • Named “Outstanding Nonprofit” of 2012 by the Community Foundation of Collier County. 
  • Praise from teachers, parents and students.
  • More than 8,000 children a month engaging their imaginations to learn, play and grow as they enjoy their monthly new book selection.

In 2018, the milestone of one million books distributed throughout Collier County since inception was accomplished.

“Thank you for the books. I read the book. I sound out the words that I do not know. You are the best. I love you. I love you ‘cause you gave us the books.” ~ Maria, pre-K student, Manatee Elementary School.

Support for Books for Collier Kids:

Books for Collier Kids is an all-volunteer nonprofit organization. Community support enables the charity to continue providing life-transforming educational adventures and experiences to our neediest children. 

  • $50 buys one book for every child in a Head Start pre-K or Title I classroom. 
  • $100 buys one book for every child in two classrooms.
  • $250 buys one book for every child in five classrooms. 
  • $500 supports an entire classroom (over 200 new books) for a full year, providing each child with a book a month to take home, cherish and share.

For more information on Books for Collier Kids, please visit, or call Sallie Williams, Chair at 239-394-4062.

Books for Collier Kids is dedicated to putting a steady stream of new books into the hands of children living in poverty in our community – books for them to read and own. Books in the home are vital to a child’s ability to read and learn.


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