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Educators working with Title I public schools or charter schools can apply for this book ownership program.

By creating a personal library at a young age, we empower and motivate students to develop strong reading habits for a lifetime.

BookSpring serves thousands of children in the greater Austin area each year through its local elementary campuses, pre-kindergarten programs, and other child development centers through Books for Me.

The Need

Many students, especially those from low-income families, did not receive adequate reading support in the past year. We hope to provide that support and compensate for the lost time.

  • A report from the TEA shows that more than 600,000 students didn’t complete assignments or respond to teacher outreach during the pandemic. (Texas Education Agency, 2020)
  • Warning of “COVID slide,” Texas Education Agency reports 1 in 10 students have disengaged during the pandemic. (Texas Tribune, 2020)
  • The average child growing up in a middle-class family has been exposed to 1,000 to 1,700 hours of one-on-one picture book reading.  (McQuillan, J., 1998. The Literacy Crisis: False Claims, Real Solutions. Heinemann)

Our Approach

Books for Me provides “forever books” to Austin area children.

  • Children have the opportunity to choose and keep books at no cost to themselves or their families.
  • Choice in books is everything when it comes to building the motivation to read in students! Dozens of books are displayed, allowing children to explore their interests and make their own choices.
  • Librarians, teachers, and volunteers motivate children to read with exciting literacy-related activities at each reading celebration event.

Testimonials from Books for Me participants

“It was nice to have a familiar event in the library during this pandemic school year. It was nice to decorate the library and be able to give books to students.” Librarian at T.A. Brown Elementary – AISD Title I School

“I get to keep books to myself, and I can make collections and read them all I like.”  Fifth Grade Student

“One of my students who is not typically a big reader said, I just don’t know which books to choose – there are too many good ones!” Librarian at Overton Elementary – AISD Title I School

Impact Goals

The overall goal is to expand the proportion of children who have at least 20 or more books at home. The Central Texas Reading Survey reported in 2018 that only 58% of families with children under 12 have 20 or more books at home. We hope to expand that number to over 70% by 2023.

Contact Program Director Shannon Thorne at shannon@bookspring.org or (512) 472-1791 x 110 for more information.

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