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Books in Every Home

**This VIP is paused and will not be accepting students for Fall 2024.** 

Students in this course provide high-quality, engaging children’s books to young readers. Each person brings unique expertise and interests that shape the direction of the course that semester. Your focus may be fundraising, publicity, event planning, research, writing and professional communication, or more.  Become part of a highly functioning team where every individual matters. Recover from the isolation of COVID by making an immediate and life-changing difference for children in the community.

Why Put Books in Every Home?

Low-income homes have on average one book for every 300 children, while middle and high income homes tend to have 50 books per child. Research also shows that children’s reading proficiency at the end of third grade, one of the strongest factors in predicting future academic success, is directly linked to the availability of reading materials in homes.

If you thought virtual schooling was tough in 2020, imagine being a second grader in 2021 who got the last months of kindergarten and most of first grade through a computer screen, limited to whatever books were in the home. In this class, you will help young children form positive relationships with books at a crucial time for literacy learning. Learn how to volunteer in schools to support young readers and give books as gifts where they are needed most.

Our goal is not only to put books in homes, but to share book-love: the love of books and the love that passes between people who share books. We aspire to leave every child we meet feeling even more beautiful, individual, and breathtaking than the most marvelous book we place in her hand. Every Boise State student who cares about this mission, regardless of academic major, is welcome. Join us, and bring a friend!

Books in every home team for spring 2019

1 in 4 Third Graders in the Treasure Valley is at Risk for Reading Problems

View video from English students who created a PonyUp campaign and raised over $2000 for this project!

Experience Gained

Students who complete one or more semesters of this project may expect to gain knowledge and experience in some of the following, with a greater breadth of learning corresponding to length of time on the project.

Skills acquired may include:

  • Project management
  • Grant writing and grant management
  • Fundraising
  • Nonprofit management and operations
  • Networking with schoolteachers and nonprofit managers
  • Social media strategy development and management
  • Media production and editing, content creation
  • Research in quality contemporary children’s books
  • Opportunity to co-develop curriculum
  • Interactions with children

View the video production and fundraising work of a recent class here.

Majors and Interests Needed

We are looking for a team of students from a variety of majors and minors who come to this project for different reasons. We welcome inquiries from any students interested in the project, even if you are unsure what you have to offer. The project may be particularly complementary to majors or minors or proficiencies in:

  • English Literature
  • Education
  • Business/Project Management (Nonprofit and otherwise)
  • Psychology
  • Sociology
  • Arabic, Swahili, Other languages spoken by refugee households in Boise
  • Art
  • Communications
  • Leadership

VIP Coach Information

Dr. Tara Penry, PhD, is Professor of English. She has taught nineteenth-century American literature, Literature of the American West, and introductory and graduate literature courses at Boise State since 2000. She created “Books in Every Home” as a senior capstone project for English Literature majors in 2017, but quickly saw the benefit to involving students from more majors and class years to establish an ongoing annual project. She volunteers with early readers at Adams Elementary School in Boise. Her home is awash in books.

Dr. Eun Hye Son, PhD, is Associate Professor of Literacy, Language, and Culture. She teaches children’s literature, content area literacy, and other literacy instruction classes in College of Education. Her research focuses on critically examining multicultural literature and exploring ways of including children’s literature in literacy instructions in elementary classrooms. She is really excited to collaborate with Dr. Penry on “Books in Every Home” project and share her love of children’s books with more people in the community.

Course Information

Full semester course.
1-2 credits for VIP 200, VIP 400, or VIP 500.
Team meetings Friday 12:15 PM to 1:15 PM

Want to join the team?

For more information and to request a permission number to register contact Dr. Tara Penry at or Dr. Eun Hye Son at OR complete this interest form and someone will contact you.  Check out this document for tips on contacting a professor about joining a team.

To register:  search by Subject: Vertically Integrated Projects, read the project description to find the right section of VIP 200, 400, or 500. Use permission number, here are instructions Add with a Permission Number