10 Books A Home: Helping Preschoolers and Their Families
“School-readiness is the key to closing the achievement gap. Students don’t fall behind; they start behind. Approximately 20% of students per year start kindergarten behind, and most stay behind. Over the past 3 years, 10 Books a Home has helped children in East Palo Alto, CA prepare for kindergarten. Already, 10BH’s first group of former Learners finished kindergarten at grade level.” - 10 Books A Home: Mission
10 Books A Home (10BH) was founded by Paul Thiebaut III in 2009. The program is simple, yet brilliant. By combining two years of home tutoring and educational resources in exchange for intense parent involvement, they are closing the achievement gap in a school district where student poverty and academic struggle has persisted for 20 years.
I learned about 10 Books A Home this summer while using a site called VolunteerMatch.org. They were looking for Role Models to help kids and their families in their homes. After talking to Paul during a few interviews and screenings, it appealed to me on so many levels.
As a teacher, it would give me a chance to help narrow the “preschool advantage” that some kids have over others. This advantage comes in the form of already having school knowledge (letters, numbers, colors, shapes, etc) and the self-regulatory behaviors necessary for school success.
As a citizen, it struck me as such a simple, yet profound, way to help others. All they were asking of volunteers was to work with families for one hour a week in their homes. After agreeing to become a volunteer, they provided an interesting four-hour training session, as well as lots of books and educational resources to bring into the homes. The lessons and activities presented to new Role Models are learner-centric and a great way to build language, math, art, music and social skills.
Shortly after my training, I was placed with a learner and his family. We just finished our 12th session together and it has been very rewarding. Despite some language barriers and some real life issues, progress is taking place and we are building a relationship. There are other children in the home that benefit from the lessons and materials too. We read, sing, dance, write, count, play and learn- it is just plain fun, and very impactful for student learning. I am proud to be a 10BH Role Model.
10 Books A Home is now expanding its reach to include more families and Role Models. They are moving into a new office to accommodate this growth and to better house their expanding resource library. Congratulations to the 10BH team and thank you for all the work you have done for the community. I am pleased that Namaste Foundation recognizes the importance of early education as a way to close the achievement gap and is contributing to the work of 10 Books A Home with a Support Gift.