Book Trust, a national nonprofit literary organization, marks its fourth year of support for reading and literacy among students at Center McMechen Elementary with renewed funds and programming for the 2015-2016 academic year. Thanks to Book Trust, elementary students at Center McMechen Elementary will receive up to three books per month—books the students choose themselves and that become their very own—for a total of up to 30 books over the course of the school year.
Book Trust’s mission is to get books to children from low-income families, thereby promoting reading and literacy. In areas of poverty, the ratio of books to children is 1 book for every 300 children, a figure contributing to the reading gap between low and middle-income families. Through its programming and partnerships, Book Trust ensures all children have access to books, regardless of their family income level. Unlike other literacy programs, Book Trust makes choice and ownership central. Each month, students receive funds to purchase books of their choosing from the Scholastic Reading Club flyer. The books are theirs to keep and take home.
“Studies prove book choice and ownership inspire a child’s passion for reading and contribute to strong literacy skills and life-long learning,” said Book Trust President & CEO Amy Friedman. “Our goal is to ensure every child gets to choose books of his or her own each month of the school year. We know the act of choosing books ignites interest in reading, sparks conversations about reading among kids and families, and helps cultivate a passion for reading and learning.”
Since 2011 Book Trust has been opening doors to reading at Center McMechen Elementary and has delivered over 8,000 books to students. In the 2014-2015 school year alone, Book Trust invested $5,600 in funds to put books in the hands of children in Center McMechen Elementary.
Arica Holt, Principal of Center McMechen Elementary is excited to welcome Book Trust back to her school. “A program like this is essential to our kids’ success,” said Holt. “Each month the students get excited when their books arrive. They read with their parents and siblings and we see the whole family become more engaged in reading and learning. That family engagement fuels academic achievement and motivation to learn.”
Schools qualify for Book Trust in part based on the percentage of students receiving free or reduced lunch. When a school is eligible for the program, all students within a participating class receive books. “Book Trust is committed to providing equal opportunities for kids,” said Holt. “All kids participate regardless of their family’s income. Every kid in the classroom is receiving books and the entire class can focus on the fun of reading.”
In 2001, Adrienne Schatz founded Book Trust to help students gain access to books and develop a love for reading. She started with a small pilot program of 170 students in Larimer County, Colorado, providing students money to select and purchase their own books. Today, Book Trust serves over 36,000 kids in fifteen states and still operates with its original mission: provide kids with books they choose themselves and that become their very own.
About Book Trust
Book Trust is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization whose mission is to empower children from low-income families to choose and own books, inspiring a passion for reading and cultivating increased literacy skills and life-long learning. To date, Book Trust has put over 3.5 million books in the hands and homes of kids. For more about Book Trust, visit booktrust.org