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Debra Cen,
sasha madison.jpeg
Sasha Madison, 
“Give a Book, Make a Reader, and Change the World”

BooksPlus Committee of Palo Alto University Rotary Club (PAUR) promotes early childhood literacy amongst Pre-K through 3rd grade students in under-resourced communities of District 5170, using evidence-based strategies.

Our mission is “Give a Book, Make a Reader, and Change the World.” Reading is the portal to all educational progress and “practice makes perfect” in reading. Students must have books to practice and to be proficient readers at their grade level.

When children select reading materials themselves and read for enjoyment, they receive the most gains in reading achievement, including better reading comprehension, writing style, vocabulary, spelling, and grammatical development.

  • Only 35% of 4th graders in the US read at or above a “proficient” level. In California, only 32% of 4th graders can do so. [1]

  • Analysis of 100,000 US school children found that access to books made a difference in levels of reading proficiency. [2]

    • Having as few as 20 books in the home has a significant impact on propelling a child to a higher level of education. [3]

  • Low-income children have limited access to books.

    • 61% of children in low-income neighborhoods have NO books at home [4].

    • There is 1 book per 300 children in low-income neighborhoods [5]


  1. National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP), 2019

  2. McQuillan, J. The Literacy Crisis: False Claims, Real Solutions. Portsmouth, NH: Heinemann, 1996

  3. Evans, M., Kelley, J., Sikora, J., Treiman, D. Family Scholarly Culture and Educational Success: Books
    and Schooling in 27 Nations. Research in Social Stratification and Mobility, 2010

  4. Literacy in the United States: Findings from the IEA Reading Literacy Study, 1996

  5. Neuman, S. and D. Dickinson, ed. Handbook of Early Literacy Research, Volume 2. New York, NY:
    2006, p. 31


We distribute age-appropriate, high-quality, curated, and self-selected books to children. Books of interest get read! We support book access through partnerships with schools, after-school programs, and community-based family resource centers. We partner with literacy foundations and other like-minded corporate entities.

Our primary nonprofit partner, Bring Me A Book Foundation (BMAB), acts as a catalyst to provide infrastructure and funding sources for our book access programs. We pride ourselves on our carefully selected and efficiently purchased books, with the able guidance from the BMAB team.

  • Pre-K through 3rd-grade students, in under-resourced communities of District 5170, get access to books and other resources that can help them read better.

  • Club members get opportunities to volunteer and contribute towards this worthy cause.

  • Our committee learns and adopts best practices which can then be shared with the larger Rotary community


If you are interested in improving literacy (reading) in an under-resourced community, and are a:


Please reach out to learn about the opportunities.

Rotary Club

We can share our practices and lessons learned. We may also partner together to bring books to the students in an under-resourced community near you.

A Title One School or an After-School Program

If you work with Pre-K through 3rd-grade students in our community, we can explore opportunities to help with their reading skills.

A Corporate Organization interested in promoting Literacy

We can provide volunteering and collaboration opportunities.

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