Needle and ThREAD

2008 Bookmark Challenge Results

The results for the Needle and Thread: Stitching for Literacy 2008 Bookmark Challenge are in.

Last year we collected and donated 429 hand-stitched bookmarks.

This year, we collected…quiet drum roll…followed by a tense, concerned look from our gorgeous host with strategically tousled hair (no, silly, not me–there’s no strategy to my tousled hair)…followed by a painfully long melodramatic silence…we zoom in on the hot host’s serious face…we’ll find out, right after these messages.

  • The United States ranks 49th among 156 United Nations member countries in its literacy rate–a drop of 18 places since 1950.
  • More than 20% of adults read at or below a fifth grade level–far below the level needed to earn a living wage.
  • Americans spent $64.38 per taxpayer on video games in 2002. The federal government spent $3.56 per taxpayer on adult basic education and literacy instruction in the same period.
  • More than eight million student in grades 4-12 read below grade level. Most are able to sound out words–the challenge isn’t to teach them to decode text but, rather, to help them comprehend what they read.
  • As the education level of adults improves, so does their children’s success in school. Helping low-literate adults improve their basic skills has a direct and measurable impact on both the education and quality of life of their children.

For those of you just joining us, the results for the Needle and Thread: Stitching for Literacy 2008 Bookmark Challenge are in. Last year we collected and donated 429 hand-stitched bookmarks.

The bookmarks are crafted by needleworkers across the US and in several foreign countries. They are collected by independent needlework shops then donated to local libraries, schools, and literacy programs during Children’s Book Week, and awarded to kids and adults as a reward for reading accomplishments.


This year, we collected…another quiet drum roll…followed by a another tense, concerned look from our gorgeous host still with strategically tousled hair (and still no strategy to my tousled hair)…followed by another painfully long melodramatic silence…

638 hand-stitched bookmarks!

Big music…confetti…balloons…flashing colored lights…a quivering lip…a few tears…a blush…

Congratulations to all of us!

Seriously, that’s fantastic.

I am enormously proud of us. More importantly, though, I’ve learned heaps, and I am inspired by your enthusiasm to do more with and for this program. We have a year to plan and prepare for the 2009 Bookmark Challenge. I like surprises, so I’m not sure how much about the plans I’ll share, but anything that is shared, will be shared here. Of course, if you have ideas, I hope you’ll share, too.

Participating shop owners have promised more pictures and further details as time permits, so stay tuned. Of course, the blog will carry on with discussions about needlework, reading, writing, and life in Alaska.

Categories: Needle and ThREAD

5 replies »

  1. Hi Jen,

    Congratulations on another successful Bookmark Challenge!

    I wonder how many lives those 638 bookmarks will travel to and impact? Many, I’m certain.

    Congrats once again.


  2. Jen, I came to understand from the feedback of my customers who participate by stitching the bookmarks that this is a win-win event. The children may receive bookmarks, but the stitchers receive the pleasure of planning and creating. It gives many of them purpose to their days.

    I have discovered an organziation called HOSTS (Helping One Student to Succeed) which mentors a reading program in schools. I plan to contact the local chapter to see how I can link the stitched bookmarks with their program – thereby expanding Literacy from one week a year to the school year.

  3. I’m glad to hear your stitchers feel it’s a win-win event. It should be!

    Keep us posted about your plan to work with HOSTS. I’m hoping we’ll make stronger connections between the stitching and reading as the program grows and develops. I’d like to see more embroidery/book clubs, more stitchers working with literacy projects, and more developing readers stitching. In my mind, it all works together beautifully.

    Hats off to you, Gayle, for all your efforts in this. I appreciate you!