As we might have learned from Gus in My Big Fat Greek Wedding, and found in Wikipedia,”haptic” is from the Greek word haptόs for “palpable”. The sense of touch enhances our ability to learn. Studies show that human information retention and learning improve when print reading materials are held and pages are turned. So, the physical experience of reading combines with the visual and other senses to produce advantages in “getting a handle on a subject” to “grasp” concepts and lessons for, as Oprah would say, living our best life.
Getting reading materials to eager at-risk readers is also physical work made worthwhile by recognizing that the heavy lifting fills an emptiness to change so many lives for good.
Reading is Fundamental says that two-thirds of U.S. children in poverty – over 10 million children – live in homes with zero books – none. Studies show that poor infants hear 30 million fewer words when their brains are developing for life.
We have the power and the resources available to fix this now. With titles for every reading age, interest, and language, magazines and comics are the most powerful literacy engines on the planet. It’s hard work moving them down the literacy supply pipeline to eager readers, but the outcomes measured in smiles and bonding and learning are priceless.
We are blessed with the enormous generosity of publishers and consumers who gift heavy boxes and thousand-pound pallets of reading materials to our literacy programs, like Highlights for Children, and Cricket Media, and Condé Nast, Hearst, and Meredith, and others, and the large-scale logistics prowess of transport companies like Quad, whose drivers and warehouse workers wrangle pallets of reading materials – literacy gold – on and off trucks.
We are also uplifted by the ready hearts and hands of hundreds of volunteers who sort and deliver magazines out of the backs of cars to match local literacy needs.
Here, volunteers from L Brands at a local branch of the Columbus Metropolitan Library make literacy happen – magazines sorted on this day are already in the trunk of a volunteer’s car on their way to hungry readers via a nearby food pantry.
Many hands make light work as we fill our literacy pipeline to reach every at-risk reader to change lives for good. This is our moonshot.