Twelve percent of adults in Horry County lack basic literacy skills. That's about 20,000 adults in the county who fall into this category of just barely literate, lacking the ability to complete even simple, everyday reading tasks. And it's just that fate that First Book of Horry County hopes to help children avoid.
More than 60 percent of low-income families have no books in their home for children, and First Book combats that statistic by providing free books to children so that they can begin their own library. Numerous studies have looked at the strong link between reading levels and book ownership. An analysis released in June synthesized the results of 108 studies on the subject and determined that simply owning books and having them available increases children's language skills, reading ability, literacy skills and causes increased reading.
To that end, First Book is accepting grant applications until the end of February from nonprofits that serve children. Grant coordinator Margene Willis said the group is looking to partner with those nonprofits to give 250 children a book each month for six months, or 1,500 books in all. More than 40,000 books have already been given to local children, and we hope that number will continue to grow by leaps and bounds.