Power couple Stephen and Ayesha Curry are working to improve children’s literacy rates with a new initiative from their Eat. Learn. Play. Foundation.
They have announced plans to create 150 Little Town Libraries that will be located throughout Oakland, California. Their goal is to provide more than 50,000 free books to children throughout the community. The libraries will be placed in what the organization says are historically under-resourced communities, including East and West Oakland, Fruitvale, and Chinatown.
The Eat. Learn. Play. Foundation was established in 2019 by the three-time NBA Champion and his entrepreneur and best-selling author wife, to provide resources to children and families in Oakland and across the United States. The foundation focuses on three key pillars: nutrition, education, and physical activity.
This new initiative is taking action against declining literacy rates throughout the Oakland area, ABC 7 reported. It’s a joint effort between The Eat. Learn. Play. Foundation and Little Free Library, which is a network of nearly 150,000 tiny libraries placed outside homes and businesses around the world for book sharing.
It aims to combat the fact that just one out of every three children is reading at grade level by the end of third grade and the low reading rates at grade level among Black and Latinx elementary school students. Additionally, “only “15.4% of Black and 12.5% of Latino elementary students in Oakland are reading at grade level after two years of distance learning,” according to the report.
“From kindergarten through third grade, making sure you are reading at your grade level by the time you get to third grade determines your educational future,” Ayesha Curry told ABC 7. “So for us, turning those numbers around is really, really important.”
Franklin Elementary in Oakland was the first to unveil its mini-library, marking the start of an important initiative and the return of in-person events.
“Being back here in person, a little more energy and bringing these Little Town Libraries here, this being the first one, hopefully, reflects our commitment to Oakland and our commitment to the next generation of kids and continuing to find ways to impact them and giving them the proper resources and fun, that’s what it’s about,” Stephen told the local news station.
Community partners, including the Oakland Literacy Coalition, Oakland Public Library and Black Cultural Zone, will select and oversee locations of The Little Town Libraries supported by grant funding.