Nonprofit Spotlight: Ferst Readers

PennyLoafer GivingGiving

In November 2021, PennyLoafer donors collectively gave to Ferst Readers!

The Rundown

  • Years founded: 1999

  • Leadership: Founder, Robin Ferst, was diagnosed with hearing loss as a child and found refuge in books. She’s been recognized for her dedication to child literacy, including being named one of Georgia’s top child advocates.

  • Issue they address: Children entering kindergarten without basic early literacy skills; lack of books in the home.

  • What they do: Send a new book to children in their program every month until age 5 - at no cost.

  • How they do it:

    • Convene a team of early childhood experts that select the age + developmentally appropriate books; and partner with several publishers.

    • Organize Community Action Teams: local, dedicated groups of volunteers that run the program in each participating county or community.

    • Provide literacy resources and reading guides to parents.

Why they were chosen

Ferst Readers is providing free, quality reading material to children at the earliest (and most important!) stage of development. Reading to children at this age impacts cognitive development, language skills and early educational success.

  • In 2020, when at home learning was more important than ever, they mailed over 580K books to ~60K children. (And more than 6.8M books over the last 20 years!)
  • They’ve built a sustainable and effective growth strategy, with dedicated groups of volunteers in over 90 counties across 7 states.

PennyLoafer LearningLearning

🧠  Our brains develop most rapidly in the first 5 years of life. A newborn has a quarter of the size of an adult brain. In the first year, the brain doubles in size, and reaches 80% by age 3. In these first few years, more than 1 million new neural connections form every second.

📖  Reading to children in their formative years boosts brain development, exposes children to a higher quantity (and quality) of vocabulary, and better prepares them for formal learning. It’s also great for bonding with the lil’ humans.

In other news

📜  President Biden signed the Infrastructure Package into law, which means $65B is going towards improving broadband (think internet access + speed). This will hopefully help tackle the digital divide many students experience (we covered this 2 newsletters ago).

💻  And it’s just in time for a coding tipping point: over half (51%) of high schools now offer at least one computer science course.

If you enjoyed this and want to get involved, you can support the Quality Education cause on PennyLoafer, starting with as little as $5/month. Each month, you’ll support and learn about a different nonprofit working to improve the education system.