Chicago, Ill., September 7, 2001 — In an effort to strengthen children’s literacy skills and create an appreciation for the printed word, GATFPress premiered a unique children’s book and accompanying community outreach tool at a press conference held in conjunction with PRINT ’01 in Chicago, Illinois on September 7, 2001.
Benjamin Saves the Books: An Adventure in Words and Wisdom and its companion Books Are Alive! Literacy Outreach Program Leader’s Guide are an ideal resource for printing/publishing professionals, teachers, or other leaders to encourage a natural love of reading and books among children and promote an understanding of the value of the printing industry.
The United States Department of Education reports that almost 40 percent of children in the fourth grade are not reading and writing at a basic level. "While this is a terrifying fact for the printing industry, as we depend on the demand for printed materials from readers, it’s a more fundamental problem that should concern all of us as a society," said Christy Holstead, GATF’s training curriculum coordinator. Prior to joining GATF, Ms. Holstead developed instructional materials for teachers and activity guides for children. She is the author of the new GATF book and designer of its community outreach program.
In Ms. Holstead’s book, she tells the story of a reluctant reader who frequently abuses books, wishing that "they would just disappear." When he finds himself in a magical land under a spell that has banished books, Benjamin doesn’t like what he sees. The children in this land have never been touched by the story of the Velveteen Rabbit. They have never been amused by The Cat in the Hat. And with the halt of the printing presses, Benjamin is denied candy bars, comic books, and baseball cards. Benjamin then sets off on an adventure to produce a book—giving a simplified, step-by-step tour of the graphic arts processes in a fascinating, understandable manner.
The accompanying Leader’s Guide is designed to help the book be utilized in a community outreach program. It is divided into two sections: one for the printing/publishing professional and the other for instructors. Each section is filled with ideas for cooperative activities between schools and local printing/publishing businesses, giving everything that is needed to implement the program in the format best suited to the sponsor needs. Through reproducible certificates and activity pages in the Leader’s Guide, a printing professional can make a lasting impression on young children about the value and wonder of printing.
"Studies show that if children aren’t reading and writing by third grade, their future academic and economic success may be jeopardized and even diminished," said Holstead. "Therefore our material is targeted to children ages 7 to 10 (grades 1 to 3). While we hope to foster a love of reading and respect for the books, this is also a demographic group overlooked by the industry to promote print awareness."
A single-copy purchase of Benjamin Saves the Books (ISBN 0-88362-354-4), a 104-page soft cover, is available for $7 ($5 for GATF/PIA members). Bulk copies in bundles of 50 for donation to multiple classrooms or large groups are available for $200 ($150 for GATF/PIA members). Request Order No. 1725 for a single copy or Order No. 1725B for bulk copies. Books Are Alive! Literacy Outreach Program Leader’s Guide, the how-to activity guide for printing/publishing professionals and grade school instructors, is available for $35 ($25 for GATF/PIA members). Indicate Order No. 1725L.
Orders may be placed by contacting GATF by phone at 800/662-3916 (U.S. and Canada) or 412/741-5733 (all other countries); fax at 412/741-0609; or from the GAIN Bookstore. Mail orders to GATF Products, P.O. Box 1020, Sewickley, PA 15143-1020. Shipping charges will be added.
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