Minneapolis Nonprofit Gives Away 22,000 New Books to Encourage Summer Reading

6/8, 5:00 PM (Source: GlobeNewswire)

MINNEAPOLIS, June 08, 2021 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Start Reading Now recently completed its eighth year of free book fairs to promote summer reading and help close the achievement gap. The Minneapolis-based nonprofit directly addresses the fact that on average, low-income families have less than one book at home. By giving children access to more books, they are able to read over summer break and keep the invaluable skills they gained over the school year.

During a normal year, Start Reading Now hosts in-person book fairs and provides a $50 voucher to each student to buy 10 new books after 1st, 2nd and 3rd grade, eventually building a personal library of 30 books by the end of the program.

Due to the restrictions of COVID-19, the nonprofit focused their efforts online and hosted digital book fairs at 21 Minneapolis Public School sites. Start Reading Now determines participating schools by selecting sites with 55% or more of the students being eligible for educational benefits such as free lunch.

“Thank you so much for including our program again this year! It’s wonderful for our students to choose books they can call their own, and even have their names written inside the front cover. We are fortunate to have this special attention given to our young readers.”- Jane Mortenson, Former MPS Principal

With the help of a teacher or parent, students shopped for 8 brand new books to encourage summer reading. From exciting tales of fiction to immersive works of nonfiction, Start Reading Now works with Follett eFairs to provide culturally relevant, engaging books that allow students to see themselves in the stories they read. Start Reading Now believes in empowering kids through choice and entrusting students to select the best 8 books for their home library – ultimately creating a strong sense of ownership and desire to read.

Since 2014, Start Reading Now has hosted over 100 book fairs and served more than 18,000 students across Minneapolis. This year alone, the nonprofit delivered another 22,000 new books to 2,700 well-deserving kids! At the end of the book fairs this year, Start Reading Now will have delivered 220,000 new books into the hands of kids who need them most.

“I am so excited for this! 1st, 2nd and 3rd [graders] this year! Wow! … Thanks for doing this again! One of my favorite events of the school year.” - Meaghan Harvey, MPS Teacher

“I'm grateful for this opportunity. Watching our students choose and read their new books is one of the highlights of the school year for me!” - Gail McCollum, MPS Teacher

About Start Reading Now:
Start Reading Now is a research-based program that is funded with donations from the surrounding community. Over 95% of revenue goes directly to the program, with each and every dollar making a difference. We thank all of our generous donors, and offer special thanks to our major donors this year: Atomic Data, Nancy and Roger McCabe, and Andy and Lynne Redleaf. See the supporting data on the benefits of early reading, and learn more about Start Reading Now at www.StartReadingNow.org

Media Contact:

Lauren Beek
Program Lead

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