People February 22, 2017 | 12:11 pm

Historic collaboration: North Coast communities build home libraries for Dominican Republic students

Cabarete, Puerto Plata, Dominican Republic -February 21, 2017. The Dominican Republic Education and Mentoring (DREAM) Projectis hosting their third annual My Very Own Library DREAM Book Fair today incollaboration with Scholastic Book Fairs. This event is supported by the familyand friends of My Very Own Library (MVOL) founder Anne Feeley (1958-2012) andthe Bailey Tuvell Family.

On this special occasion, we are pleased towelcome Ana Galán, author of Un León en Cabarete, a children’s book that aimsto build a culture of reading in the Dominican Republic. This book was inspiredby Ana Galán’s initial visit to DREAM schools during the first MVOL book fairin December 2014, which led to her returning to help students write a fun andengaging book for their community.

The MVOL DREAM Book Fairs will afford morethan 2,000 students in the Dominican Republic the opportunity to select ten newbooks in Spanish over the course of the school year. The book fairs includemotivational literacy activities and inspiring author visits that generateexcitement for reading and help parents better support reading in the home.

Participating students will be selected fromfive area public schools as well as DREAM’s Early Childhood and High QualityPrimary Education programs, including the Montessori Early Childhood Program,Young Stars, Summer Schools and Camps, and the DREAM con Libros Mobile Library.

This is the second round of book fairs for2016-17, with the main event taking place at the DREAM Education Center inCabarete followed by three additional book fairs at the Ausberto Luna LagombraSchool in La Unión, Salomé Ureña School in La Ciénaga and Máximo Acosta Schoolin Abreu.

These book fairs will highlight theimportance of reading and its role in providing high quality education to thechildren of the Dominican Republic, while providing countless hours of readingand literacy activities in the homes and classrooms of underserved communities.

Since 2014, DREAM and MVOL have hosted bookfairs in collaboration with six public schools and five DREAM schools along theNorth Coast of the Dominican Republic. Each year young readers have chosen morethan 20,000 books to create libraries in their own homes.

This program contributes to long-term successfor children, as studies show that having books in the home can predict achild’s educational attainment level. High levels of parent engagement are keyto success, and parents are now able to read more frequently to their childrenat home due to the program.

Dulce González, a local parent, emphasizedthe impact of the program: "All the books in my house are from the bookfairs. Before DREAM it wasn’t easy to find books in my community." MVOLand DREAM Project are proud to have created this change.

The goal of the DREAM Book Fairs is toimprove literacy rates and ensure that all youth in the country have access tobooks and a brighter tomorrow, free from the cycle of poverty.

DREAM strives to support and partner with theMinistry of Education in the Dominican Republic, reversing the trend of lowperforming academic results and creating a shared culture of reading and highquality education.

To learn more about the DREAM Project and tosupport this memorable event, please visit: www.dominicandream.org, orhttp://www.myveryownlibrary.org.