H-E-B’s Read 3 Book Drive & Read-In

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In its continued support for early childhood literacy across Texas, H-E-B is asking customers and schools to donate children’s books to in-store bins from Sept. 14 through Sept. 27 and help reach a goal of collecting 1 million books for families in need.

Customers and Partners (employees) can drop off new and gently used children’s books in special collection bins in more than 370 H-E-B stores throughout Texas. To help families build their home library, H-E-B is giving away free children’s books with special Combo Locos and Meal Deals. Shoppers can also choose to donate those books back to the bins to put them in the hands of children in need.

“A parent is a child’s first teacher, and one of the best ways to set children up for success is to read to them at least three times a week,” said Kate Rogers, H-E-B vice president of communications and health promotion. “Only 37 percent of children arrive at kindergarten with the skills necessary for lifetime learning. That statistic has to change.”

In addition to the book drive, H-E-B is inviting communities across Texas to celebrate Read 3’s fifth birthday by taking part in a store-wide read-in, literary cupcake bake-offs, and various puppet shows and story times during the two-week event. Check your local H-E-B store for a calendar of events.

On Sept. 21 from 10-10:30am, all H-E-B stores will host a Read 3 Read-In, encouraging community members and shoppers to park their carts, grab a book, and participate in story times. Schools, day cares, and early childhood facilities are encouraged to organize read-ins on their campuses. Eligible organizations can register online and enter to win $1,000 cash grants, book donations, and gift cards. For contest details, visit heb.com/read3.

H-E-B’s Read 3 campaign is inspired by H-E-B CEO and Chairman Charles Butt’s strong commitment to education. Since September 2011, H-E-B has collected more than 3 million books for children.

Read 3 encourages parents to read to their children at least three times a week to build a strong foundation for early literacy; however, access to books can be a significant problem for many low-income families. Thus, H-E-B has increased its book offerings and placed literacy centers in 14 stores statewide to serve as a community hub for story times, character appearances, and book signings with popular authors.

To engage teachers and students in the book drive, H-E-B is offering grants to schools that collect the most books through the School Book Drive Challenge. One school in each region will win a $1,000 grant to be used toward supporting a campus literacy initiative. Entry forms can be found at heb.com/read3.

Books collected in stores will be donated to children in need through schools, libraries, nonprofits, and H-E-B’s annual Feast of Sharing dinners.  If your organization is in need of books, applications can be found at heb.com/read3.

In many communities, H-E-B has partnered with schools and universities to provide family literacy and nutrition workshops that prepare 3 and 4-year-olds and their parents for kindergarten. To date, those workshops have served more than 4,200 families in 17 Texas cities.

Before completing the workshop, only 13 percent of families had 20 or more children’s books in the home and only 3 percent read to their children daily. After completing the workshop, 93 percent had 20 or more books and 33 percent read daily to their children.