1000×5 Children’s Literacy Project is helping little ones learn to read


Every month, 1000×5 (One Thousand By Five) donates more than 1,500 books to babies and toddlers across Greater Victoria.

“The title 1000×5 refers to the notion that if a child hears one thousand stories,” says Volunteer Eileen Eby, “and not a thousand different stories necessarily, by age five, he or she is going to be much more ready to go into kindergarten.”

The concept began about 10 years ago when families began donating gently used children’s books to a few volunteers on the Saanich Peninsula.

Now, 1000×5 has spread to Victoria and the Westshore, and more than 20 volunteers.

Eby has been a volunteer with the program since the beginning, and proudly explains what’s happening with all the volunteers around her.

“What you see here is our little factory,” she says.

“The books come in from all the families, we sort and clean and package them, and then we just put them in beautiful little gift bags to go out to the different agencies that give them to kids.”

More than 1,500 books, to 42 different agencies across the Capital Region.

“I think we’re up to about 250,000 books that we’ve put into little children’s hands, and kept out of the recycle,” says volunteer Terri Thomas, who joined 1000×5 when it was founded.

In fact, the number of books is actually over 300,000.

People leave books in donation boxes in schools, and across the community.

Organizations such as Rotary also collect books for 1000×5.

Joan Peggs, from Oak Bay Rotary explains that “one of our avenues of service for Rotary International is education, and as you can appreciate, the basis of education is literacy, because you don’t advance very far if you can’t read and write.”

Along with dozens of boxes of books, Rotaries across Southern Vancouver Island donate cash.

“The money is great because [1000×5] uses Orca books, and they use Russell Books. And they get very good prices on the books from both of those companies” says Peggs.

Volunteer Anne Knoke smiles brightly as she points out that the books are “a gift for the children and the families. They don’t have to take the book back. They can read it again, and again!”

“Research shows that, without a doubt, having books in the home is the single greatest factor in changing early literacy” says Eby.

“So this meets a real need right here on the ground.  A local project, done by local people, donating, and sorting, and receiving.  So we’re very proud of that.”

If you have gently used children’s books to donate click here.

Veronica CooperVeronica Cooper

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