I work hard all year long writing stories, and writing articles. But there are projects that mean a lot to me. And one of those projects that mean the most to me is the Free Summer YA eBook Exclusive Series to Smashwords.
Why do I work so hard on a bunch of free eBooks? Literacy in the Black community is extremely poor. Many of the young brothers and sisters that are attending high school are reading at a fifth or sixth grade reading level these days.
In between the two months from the last day of school to the first day of school of the new school year, most children’s reading skills fall off. Some even regress to the point that they fall back four or five reading levels.
Many parents, especially those in the inner city don’t understand that kids need to keep reading to maintain their literacy. Moreover, they need to keep reading to keep their grade point averages up.
Kids who read regularly have larger vocabularies. They speak more articulately and are better creative writers. They do better in school. They do better on PSAT and SAT exams later on, and they’re better prepared to compete in college.
When I was younger I used to use the downtime of summer to read comics, magazines and newspapers. That kept my brain stimulated until school started in September. And when I returned to school then I was ready to tackle the classwork (well, everything except algebra. That class was a pain in the ass, failed it four times) that was presented to me.
I don’t want children’s academic skills to fall off. I don’t want them to get discouraged and drop out. So I try to offer material to readers ages 11 and up during the summer. Middle school is a place where children are the most vulnerable to their academic skills stagnating or declining. It’s a place where we lose many a child, especially Black males to the streets for good.
I feel if I can get kids excited about reading and learning about things like screenwriting, maybe it’ll help them keep them in school. Maybe they’ll even see writing or screenwriting as a career path to pursue.
I know most tweens and teens do most of their reading with the PC and other hand-held devices like Nooks, Kindles, ipads and even ipods and cell phones these days. They take these devices everywhere, even to the bathroom. So there’s always an opportunity to read on them.
I also know books are expensive, and eBooks are expensive too. And I know a lot of families are on limited incomes so they don’t have the money to purchase eBooks or paperbacks. So I try to offer a variety of new titles for free so younger readers can have access to reading materials throughout the summer.
I also offer other exclusive titles on Kindle over the year during weekends so readers can have access to reading material throughout the year. Reading should be an everyday thing, and I want to get people passionate about reading something every day. Whether it’s a blog, an eBook, or a paperback, the more a person reads the more they learn.