book home

Planting the seed of readingErika Lowery, honorary chair of the annual Southern Illinois University Carbondale “Book in Every Home” campaign, reads “Growing Vegetable Soup,” one of several books she read to youngsters enrolled in the Carbondale Head Start center on Wednesday, Oct. 15. Organizers hope to collect 2,000 new preschool books appropriate for children 3-5 years old during the 14th annual drive, which ends Dec. 5. A total of 433 children are enrolled in seven area Head Start centers in Carbondale, Carterville, Johnston City, Marion and Murphysboro. Lowery, and her husband, SIUC men’s basketball coach Chris Lowery, are the parents of four children. Photo by Russell Bailey Download Photo Here

October 15, 2008

SIUC launches ‘Book in Every Home’ campaign

by Pete Rosenbery

CARBONDALE, Ill. -- Southern Illinois University Carbondale today (Oct. 15) launched its 14th annual “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 respected for its success, the SIUC Head Start program -- now in its 38th 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 13 years, members of the SIUC community and the community at large have donated or provided funds to buy more than 31,000 books. Last year’s drive collected enough books so that each Head Start child went home with four books. The goal this year is to collect at least 2,000 new preschool books by Dec. 5.

“Last year, contributions made by SIUC employees, students and individuals, groups and businesses throughout the community surpassed previous books drives,” said Cathy J. Reed, director of SIUC’s Head Start program. “Each child was given four books to take home and keep for his/her very own. Providing these books to our young children to take home and keep establishes the foundation for early literacy skills and encourages children and families to appreciate and enjoy reading. It is an investment in our future.”

For a fourth year, Erika Lowery, wife of men’s basketball coach Chris Lowery, is chairing the campaign. She is enthusiastic about the prospects for another successful drive. She kicked off the drive by once again reading to children at SIUC’s Head Start facility in Carbondale. The couple has four children, ages 14, 8, 7 and 4.

“I get excited about this time of year, and always want to start earlier to meet the goals,” she said.

Lowery said it is important for children to become excited about reading when they are young, so it instills in them a love of reading for the rest of their lives.

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 game at the SIU Arena with the donation of a new preschool book. The men’s team faces Missouri Southern at 7:05 p.m., Monday, Nov. 3. The women’s team plays St. Louis University in the regular season opener at 7:05 p.m., Friday, Nov. 14.

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.

A book drop location also will be set up at Murdale True Value & Just Ask Rental, 1915 W. Main St., Carbondale.

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 “Book 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.