WHRO is holding a book drive in February to collect books for our First Books initiative. First Books is an organization that believes providing a child access to their first book will give them a chance to become a successful reader for life. WHRO distributes First Books to area libraries, schools, and daycare centers that participate in WHRO’s various literacy trainings. Martha Razor, WHRO’s Early Childhood Coordinator, provides students with a short program on why it is important to practice reading and then distributes First Books to the children to keep. “Even after 11 years, I still see the same expression on a child’s face when they receive a book. The children really get excited about having their own book to hold and keep.” First Books are also distributed when Martha provides training for parents to learn teachable moments that can their child’s literacy skills.

Additionally, First Books are distributed to area schools in connection with WHRO’s Martha Speaks Reading Buddies program where fifth grade students are partnered with first grade students to meet for eight weeks and read stories, write in journals, and play learning games together. The program improves reading fluency and comprehension. Children who receive books are more likely to increase reading time at home, have an increase in their desire to learn, and, most importantly, have a higher interest in reading.

Thanks to grants, local foundations, and the WHRO Leadership Circle, tens of thousands of First Books have been distributed to area children over the past 17 years. From February 5-18, WHRO will hold a drive to collect First Books. If you would like to donate books, mark them “Attention: Children’s Services” and give them to the receptionist at the WHRO offices at 5200 Hampton Boulevard. If you would like more information about WHRO’s First Books initiative please contact us at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..