Filling backpacks with books, one child at a time

Feb 26, 2013
As part of Scholastic’s global literacy campaign,Read Every Day. Lead a Better Life., we’ve identified organizations that work every day to see that children learn to read, love to read, and have access to books. We call them“Literacy Champions”andwe want to acknowledge their hard work here on the blog in ourLiteracy Champions series. In this next installment, we’re focusing on one of our more recent Literacy Champions, Book Trust. What if your only wish was to choose and own a book? This is the reality for almost every Book Trust student. Kai’s story… Kai’s backpack was growing heavier and heavier. It grew so heavy that his teacher finally said, “Kai, this is ridiculous. Your backpack is weighing you down.” When Kai opened his backpack, the teacher found his entire personal library—the one he had been building from his Book Trust selections all year long—20 books! Her first reaction was to reprimand him for lugging all those books back and forth from home each day. But then she realized: he didn’t have a real home. These books were his only possessions, and he was unwilling to risk losing a single one. They were books he chose. Books he loved. They were books that allowed him to escape to another world. Bookshelf or none, they were his. Choosing books each month sparked Kai’s passion for reading. He became an avid reader. And unlike so many of his peers living in underserved communities, Kai was reading proficiently by third grade. Reading proficiently by third grade meant Kai was four times more likely to graduate from high school. Book Trust currently provides over 25,000 students across the nation with the opportunity to choose and own $7 worth of books from Scholastic Book Clubs each month. Since 2001, they have invested nearly $5 million dollars in children in need—enabling them to choose over 2.3 million books. Teachers have accrued over 33 million Scholastic bonus points. Book Trust’s goal is to provide over 600,000 books this year, bringing the grand total to 3 MILLION BOOKS! Through Book Trust, Kai and other students like him are building their home libraries…or backpacks full of books. Books they choose, own, and delight in over and over. They’re reading more. They’re reading better. And, they’re becoming life-long learners who love to read. They’re making children’s wishes come true. Learn more Anyone who helps a child to read is a Literacy Champion in our book, and we invite you tojoin our growing listof people committed to supporting childhood literacy. You can also support a LiteracyChampion near you—browsea full liston our Read Every Day Lead a Better Life. site.