Reading Opens the World

The AFT and First Book are celebrating a major milestone in our 13 yearlong joint partnership – distributing more than 10 million free books to students, families and educators serving in Title I schools and programs; public employees and health care professionals serving communities in need across the country.  

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Since 2011, the AFT and First Book have worked together to bring books to those who need them the most and yet can least afford them.  Through small book giveaways for classrooms all the way up to large family literacy festivals with 40,000+ books going to hundreds of families, educators and students – we are spreading the joy of reading and helping to create a better life for all.

To celebrate, the AFT is hosting five events across the country in New York City, Florida, Illinois, Ohio and Texas giving out a total of 150,000+ books, including culturally diverse titles, bilingual Spanish-English books, STEM and social emotional learning books. 

We've reached our 2,000,000 book goal!
Let's keep going!

The American Federation of Teachers' Reading Opens the World initiative focuses on:

  • Giving teachers and school staff the tools and professional development that translate the science of reading into usable resources to help students read and read well.
  • Giving parents and caregivers fun and research-based tips and tools to support literacy.
  • Building on and forging new connections among families, communities, educators and schools to be partners in students’ literacy.
  • Giving children and young people free books to read, love and keep, because …

Reading Opens the World!

At an AFT Reading Opens the World event Fairfax County Federation of Teachers members spent days sorting and organizing to give out 40,000 books to educators and families in their school district.


AFT's Reading Opens the World event with the El Rancho Federation of Teachers in Pico Rivera, CA was a huge success because it brought together everyone in the community to promote reading. Thousands of people came out to receive 40,000 free books and celebrated AFT's 1 million book distribution milestone.
In the shadow of the Florida State Capitol, FEA, NEA, and AFT partnered to give out 25,000 books (many which have been banned in classrooms) to children, familes, and educators.
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AFT President Randi Weingarten joined ParentsTogether Executive Director Ailen Arreaza and FL NAACP Conference President Adora Nweze at the NAACP Freedom Library Town Hall in where the AFT gave away 10,000 diverse books.
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AFT Voices

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“I don’t know what happened to me, but I hated reading before. And this year, the seventh grade teacher had all these books out and I just started reading.” - Mason, seventh grade

#ReadingOpensTheWorld @aftmichigan

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Thanks for joining us in Macomb, Shantanique! Excited to see the library you and your boys build.

#ReadingOpensTheWorld @aftmichigan

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Lexington, KY teacher Tracy Bollinger who picked up three sets of classroom books for her high school sociology students

Thank you Tracy! And hope your students love their new books! #ReadingOpensTheWorld @AFTunion @nema @120Strong

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