October 23, 2007

SIUC launches 'Book in Every Home' campaign

by Pete Rosenbery

book in homes

Caption follows story

CARBONDALE, Ill. — Southern Illinois University Carbondale today (Oct. 23) launched its 13th annual "A Book in Every Home" campaign.

The goal of the drive is to collect enough books so each of the 433 children enrolled in seven area Head Start centers will receive at least one book to take home and call their own. Children ages three to five attend Head Start centers in Carbondale, Carterville, Johnston City, Marion and Murphysboro.

Nationally recognized for its success, the SIUC Head Start program — now in its 37th year — is one of only a few university-related Head Start organizations in the country. The program focuses on meeting the social, intellectual, emotional and physical needs of preschool children from income-eligible families.

Over the last 12 years, members of the SIUC community and the community at large donated more than 29,000 books. Last year's drive collected enough books so that each Head Start child went home with three books. The goal this year is to collect at least 2,500 new preschool books by Dec. 7.

"Without the generous donations received from SIUC employees and students, along with support from community businesses, groups and individuals, we would not be providing books for the children to have for their very own," said Cathy J. Reed, director of SIUC's Head Start program.

Another key is for children and their parents to read together, Reed said.

"We give these books to the children to take home so that parents and other family members will read to their children," Reed said. "We believe that providing these books will encourage children and their families to appreciate books and learn to enjoy reading. "

For a third year, Erika Lowery, wife of men's basketball coach Chris Lowery, is chairing the campaign, and is excited about this year's potential. The couple has four children, ages 13, 7, 6 and 3.

Lowery and her husband read with their children, who also enjoy reading.

"I want to see this program get out more into the community so it can receive more books and donations," she said.

In choosing a new book for young children ages 3-5, please consider the following:

  • Illustrations — Large, clear colorful pictures that relate to the words.
  • Text — The story should be easy to follow and understand.
  • Design — The pages in the book should be uncluttered. The print should be large and legible.
  • Language — Books written in both Spanish and English are acceptable.

Basketball fans again will be able to gain admission to a Saluki men's and women's exhibition games at the SIU Arena with the donation of a new preschool book. The men's team faces King College, at 2:05 p.m., Saturday, Nov. 3. The women's team plays the 2007 Women's NAIA National Champions, Lambuth University, at 2:05 p.m., Sunday, Nov. 4.

Drop boxes for the books are at the following campus locations:

  • Chancellor's office, Anthony Hall.
  • Law school library, Hiram H. Lesar Law Building.
  • Student Center Information Station, first floor.
  • Student Development Office, third floor, Student Center.
  • Student Health Services, adjacent to the Student Recreation Center.
  • Woody Hall, bursar's payment area.
  • Colyer Hall.
  • Coach Chris Lowery's office, Lingle Hall, adjacent to the SIU Arena.

Book drop locations also will be available at various banks in Jackson and Williamson counties.

In addition to bringing books, tax-deductible monetary donations to buy new books are also welcome. Checks should be made out to the SIU Foundation with "Books in Every Home" written in the memo area. The SIU Foundation address is 1235 Douglas Drive, Colyer Hall, Mail Code 6805, Southern Illinois University Carbondale, Carbondale, IL 62901.


Telling a story — With daughter Jazmyn listening intently, Erika Lowery, honorary chair of this year's Book in Every Home campaign, reads one of several books Tuesday to youngsters enrolled in the Carbondale Head Start center. Organizers hope to collect 2,500 new preschool books appropriate for children 3-5 years old during the 13th annual drive that ends Dec. 7. Lowery, and her husband, SIUC men's basketball coach Chris Lowery, are the parents of four children.

Photo by Russell Bailey