Habitat for Reading

"A house without books is like a room without windows." - Heinrich Mann

Habitat for Reading seeks to change lives by providing families with their own home library customized for each child. Created by Sheila F. Baker, Associate Professor and Program Coordinator of School Library and Information Science (SLIS) at University of Houston - Clear Lake, Habitat for Reading is a collaboration with Habitat for Humanity and other community partners.

The goal of this initiative is to develop home libraries for Habitat for Humanity families in area communities. Each collection of books is developed by the graduate students in the SLIS program, and it uniquely suited to meet the needs and interests of the children in the home. To date, books have been provided to 15 families and placed in the hands of 53 children. 

Promoting Reading to Children

According to current research:

  • Children whose parents read to them at home experience more successful outcomes in school
  • Children with limited access to books and reading experiences in their early years struggle in school and often do not value reading
  • School-age children who do not read during the summer can be two or more years behind their peers who do

This gift of a home library helps families to create a promising future for their children through encouraging the simple and powerful habit of reading. The books provided by generous donors through the Habitat for Reading program promote family literacy, help bridge the summer reading gap, and foster a love for reading.

Families have reported their children as a "top reader in the class" and some children are now tutoring younger children in reading. Additionally, the oldest in a family of five girls who received a home library when she was 13 is now in her first year as a UHCL Hawk!

UHCL Students Reap Benefits

The Habitat for Reading program provides both career-relevant and real-world experiences for UHCL Literacy and Library Science students. UHCL students in the teacher preparation program create fun and imaginative book-related activities and videos that promote parent and child reading time.

Be a Part of Our Story

Habitat for Reading's mission is to establish reading habits, strengthen families, and mobilize communities to increase children’s opportunities for lifelong success. Continued support from donors will produce positive change locally and, ultimately, statewide. Please join us on our mission.

For more information about volunteering and donating to Habitat for Reading, please contact Dr. Sheila Baker at bakers@uhcl.edu or Richard Zalesak at zalesak@uhcl.edu.