Ovation: One Million Books For Kids Living In Poverty.
Once each year when I was a middle school student, our teacher distributed a flyer from Scholastic, the world’s largest publisher and distributer of children’s books. It was an opportunity for children to purchase books outside of the curriculum that had been, somehow, pre-approved as appropriate for our age group. The prices, while modest when compared to today’s standards, were considered by most to be quite high, but the books were of excellent quality and would be delivered to the students in the classroom. I would carry those flyers for days, having circled the books that I would like to have hoping that I would be able to purchase them before the order cut-off date arrived.
Last week, Scholastic announced that it will donate one million books to a nonprofit that gives free books to children living in poverty. In an effort to help more low-income families build home libraries and to encourage families to read together, Scholastic’s Reach Out and Read program will give away the books, which includes a large quantities of bilingual Spanish/English books, during office visits with their children’s doctors. Scholastic is a long-time supporter of the organization that distributes free books through pediatric professionals and hospital staff who educate the families about the importance of reading aloud.
“We believe that literacy is the birthright of every child and the pathway to success in school, and it starts by creating a home library from which children can access and choose books that will set them up for a lifetime of independent reading. Reach Out and Read and their proven model continues to successfully prescribe reading for all children and their families during their visit to the doctor.” – Richard Robinson, Chairman and CEO of Scholastic.
As fewer and fewer books are actually printed on paper, and even textbooks are downloaded onto eReaders, tablets and laptops, one million books in the hands of children who might not otherwise have the opportunity to read anything at all is a wonderful gift to the nation. As technology advances and future generations ultimately find themselves with books that read themselves the opportunity to read a book could become a rare privilege.
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