WASHINGTON—The American Federation of Teachers and First Book are promoting literacy as a building block to educational equity with events in at least a dozen cities to distribute more than 250,000 free books to disadvantaged students.
"First Book February" and "Bookmark March" events will build on the AFT and First Book's recent milestone of providing one million books to students and families in need.
"Reading and discovering a love of books at a young age is one of the most important building blocks to lifelong literacy," says AFT President Randi Weingarten. "The AFT's partnership with First Book is one way we are reclaiming the promise of a great education for all children and creating a pipeline of books and other resources to students and families in need."
Books will arrive in more than a dozen cities across the country later this month and in March for book distributions to registered AFT members and community partners who work or volunteer in schools and programs where at least 70 percent of the children come from low-income families.
"First Book's mission is to get books into the hands of children who need them most, and there's no better way to make that happen than by working with AFT members across the country," says Kyle Zimmer, president and CEO of First Book. "Together, we've provided over one million brand-new books to kids in need at schools across America."
"First Book February" and "Bookmark March" events include:
Pittsburgh—Feb. 15. More than 40,000 books will be distributed.
Washington, D.C.—Feb. 18. About 2,500 books will be handed out at several local public schools.
Philadelphia—Feb. 22. More than 40,000 books will be distributed.
Montana—Feb. 24-25. Books will be distributed at four public schools on Native American reservations in Lame Deer and Pryor.
San Francisco—March 1. More than 40,000 books will be distributed.
Hillsborough County, Fla.—March 1. The local teachers union, the school district and parent groups will offer reading workshops and a book distribution as part of their ongoing Parent University program.
Socorro, Texas (El Paso County)—March 1. Hundreds of books will be distributed at three public schools.
Dallas—March 3-7. About 400,000 books will be handed out, with about 100,000 going to educators in public schools.
Daly City, Calif.—March 8. Hundreds of books will be distributed at parent workshops and authors' book readings at a community fair.
Broward County, Fla.—March 15. More than 40,000 books will be handed out.
Other March events are being planned for several cities in Illinois and Missouri.
On Jan. 25, more than 40,000 books were distributed in Detroit.
To keep books and educational resources flowing, donations can be made to fund additional book distribution and literacy events at http://go.aft.org/firstbookdonate. AFT members and community partners can register here to receive books.