This story was originally published by PR Newswire.
Created to help approximately half a million Florida students in kindergarten through 5th grade read at the grade level, the New Worlds Reading Initiative is a new, free book delivery program that advances literacy and love of reading across the state. In less than five months since delivering the first books, the program has enrolled more than 100,000 Florida students to receive a book each month right at their doorstep – a milestone for the new program.
The New Worlds Reading Initiative is administered by the Lastinger Center for Learning at the University of Florida, and it was created and funded in 2021 by legislation from the Florida House of Representatives under President Chris Sprows. The Lastinger Center chose Scholastic as a partner in the initiative. To date, over 335,529 books have been distributed.
“Reading has the ability to transform lives in incredible ways, and reading fluency can support a lifelong joy of learning in many different subjects,” said Dr. Shaunté Duggins, Deputy Director of the New Worlds Reading Initiative. “Our teachers are important ambassadors. They share our mission of instilling a love of reading in students and helping them read at school level. We are absolutely thrilled to partner with educators, families and communities to delivering books to the homes of more than 100,000 families. to help instill a lifelong love of reading. But that’s just the beginning – we’re working hard to make sure every eligible child in the State of Florida has the opportunity to register.
Through the program, eligible K-5 students at Florida public and charter schools who enroll will receive one free book per month in English, Spanish, or Haitian Creole during the school year, for one total of nine books per year. Children can choose the subject matter of the books they receive, with the most popular selections being the ‘adventure’ and ‘humor’ categories, to help them build personalized libraries and develop a love of reading. The books also come with literacy activities for families and caregivers to engage with their children in reading and help develop their child’s language and conversation skills.
“I love the program as a whole,” said Shaquasha Lane of Palm Beach County, whose 9-year-old has been participating in the program since registration opened in November. “It is difficult to go to the store, for example, to find a book at your child’s reading level. These books are practical because the books help understanding and it is similar to what he would learn at school. school. When he first got the book, he was nonchalant like, ‘Oh it’s just another book’…but I was really excited. He’s now getting to the point where reading is more a habit, he can’t wait for a new book.”
The New Worlds Reading Initiative seeks to continue to work closely with school and district administrators, educators and community organizations to help reach the remaining 400,000 students estimated eligible to enroll within five years. The book delivery program is funded by a $200 million appropriation in the 2021 Florida state budget and a corporate tax credit program that provides a dollar-for-dollar return in tax credits for a donation from a company.
“Research has consistently shown that children who have choice in reading develop a sense of belonging and that home libraries are beneficial. New Worlds Reading combines these ideas, providing access and choice of books directly to children from Florida who need reading encouragement the most.” added Rose Else-Mitchell, President of Education Solutions at Scholastic, the global children’s publishing, education and media company.
“More than 100,000 registrations for the New Worlds Reading Initiative is more than just a milestone for the program – it represents 100,000 lives and families who will be bettered by the books and resources delivered to their doorsteps each month,” said President Chris. Flourishes. “By equipping students with engaging books and parents with the tools they need to help their children learn to love reading, we propel children to success and empower them to dream, do and Do more.”
On Tuesday, March 29, the New Worlds Reading Initiative will celebrate the milestone of 100,000 student enrollment with educators and eligible students and their families at Central Florida Zoo & Botanical Gardens. President Sprows will be in attendance and is expected to make an exciting funding announcement.
Follow us on Facebook (@NewWorldsReading), Instagram (@newworldsreading) or Twitter (@newworldsFL) for information on upcoming community literacy events across the state and for other ways to get involved. Plus, keep an eye out for the upcoming “Reading Makes You, You.” statewide advertising campaign to help reach and enroll even more eligible students in Florida.
Parents should visit www.newworldsreading.com to learn more about the program, eligibility requirements and to register. Any parent or caregiver who has further questions about program eligibility should contact their child’s teacher.
About the UF Lastinger Learning Center:
Housed within the University of Florida College of Education, the Lastinger Center for Learning is an education innovation center that develops solutions designed to improve outcomes across three stages of education: kindergarten readiness, mastery reading in third grade and proficiency in algebra in ninth grade. The Lastinger Center’s innovations serve children and educators in every Florida community and have expanded both nationally and globally. The remarkable reach of the Lastinger Center’s work and the impact of its collective efforts have attracted state, national and international recognition and investment. Learn more at www.lastingercenter.com.
For more than 100 years, Scholastic Corporation (NASDAQ: CMHC) has nurtured the personal and intellectual growth of all children, beginning with literacy. Having earned a reputation as a trusted partner for educators and families, Scholastic is the world’s largest publisher and distributor of children’s books, a leading provider of literacy programs, professional services and school magazines, and a producer of educational and entertaining children’s media. The company creates and distributes best-selling books and e-books, print and technology-based learning programs for K-12, and other products and services that support learning and literacy children, at school and at home. With 15 international operations and exports to 165 countries, Scholastic makes quality, affordable books available to all children around the world through book clubs and school book fairs, school libraries, school and public libraries, retail and online. Learn more at www.scholastic.com.