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Books in Every Home

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. This project seeks to place delightful, high-quality, culturally inclusive, attractive books in the hands and homes of children as they are learning to read in early elementary grades. Students enrolled in this VIP will raise funds to buy books we hand-select for low-income and refugee students in our community. We work with local teachers or other community partners to plan activities that complement their curriculum. We meet children and read aloud to them as we deliver the books we have purchased. 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. Join us!

Books in every home team for spring 2019




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. Spring semesters include more planning activities, while fall semesters feature direct contact with children and delivery of books. 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

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
  • Creative Writing

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 200-016, VIP 400-016, or VIP 500-016.
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, select section 016 of VIP 200, 400, or 500. Use permission number, here are instructions