Orlando Magic Baskets for Books Program Presented by Florida Blue Celebrates 10th Year
The Baskets for Books program has donated more than 54,000 books to the Early Learning Coalition since program inception
ORLANDO - In an effort to develop lifelong learners through literacy and education, the Orlando Magic and Florida Blue celebrate the 10th anniversary of the Baskets for Books program presented by Florida Blue. For every point made by the Orlando Magic at every home game one book is donated to the Early Learning Coalition (ELC) of Orange County. Since program inception in 2010, more than 54,000 total books have been donated to the Early Learning Coalition. Nearly 4,000 books were donated last season (2019-20) with the help of Houghton Mifflin & Harcourt Publishing Company.
In celebration of the 10th anniversary, the Magic and Florida Blue teamed up to create a children's book, STUFF & SUNNY Take Flight, which was distributed virtually over the summer to Orange County Public Schools' (OCPS) elementary school youth, Magic season ticket holders, premium partners and through the Magic's eNews subscribers. The two also donated water bottles to the ELC book recipients.
In addition, over the last three years, the Magic and Florida Blue have participated in Orange County Library System's Summer Reading Program which offered youth ages 6-12 a chance to receive Magic tickets during the upcoming seasons for submitting five book reviews online through the library's reading program. The two also took part in the Orlando Public Library’s Summer Reading Celebration, the culminating event, with Magic Community Ambassadors Nick Anderson and Bo Outlaw joining in the celebration.
The Baskets for Books program provided a way to continue the team’s literacy efforts, one of the Magic’s three focus areas. Based on the need in this area, literacy remains a point of emphasis for the Magic (research below provided by the U.S. Department of Education).
- 83 percent of the preschool and after-school programs serving at-risk children do not have access to books.
- 68 percent of low-income families have no children’s books in their homes.
- By age four, children who live in low-income homes will have heard 32 million fewer words than children who read on a daily basis and have access to books in their home.
About the Early Learning Coalition of Orange County
In 1999, Florida law established the Early Learning Coalition to ensure children ages birth to five experienced the benefits of a developmentally appropriate, research based early education services while respecting the role of the parent as a child’s first teacher. The Coalition provides access to high quality early care and education to eligible children and promotes best practices among early learning providers. This unique partnership of business leaders, health and education professionals, government and non-profit stakeholders oversee, coordinate and leverage over $67 million annually to ensure measurable early learning outcomes translate to school readiness success.
The following programs enhance the quality of services available in our community and increase the number of children who enter school ready to learn:
- Child Care Resource and Referral Services
- School Readiness subsides for working poor families
- Voluntary PreKindergarten (VPK) programs for four-year-olds
- Quality initiatives and assessments of early care and education programs
To learn more about how you can make a difference in the lives of children. Please visit our website at www.elcoc.org or call (407) 841-6607.