8,000 Chicago public school students receive gift of books for their very own libraries


Eight-thousand students in Chicago are expanding their home libraries this month, thanks to the gift of new, age-appropriate books from My Very Own Library and Scholastic, in collaboration with Chicago Public Schools.  There are 40,000 children’s books being distributed to students at 20 schools across the South Side.

The books are gifts from the University of Chicago’s My Very Own Library program, a pre-K – 8th grade initiative that boosts literacy and fosters a love of reading by helping students build their very own home libraries. Scholastic Book Fairs, the global children’s publishing, education, and media company, is the exclusive book fair and book supply partner to the UChicago’s My Very Own Library. Each student receives 10 books a year.

“For 10 years, we’ve connected children to the power of words and images created just for them, with characters whose stories introduce them to exciting concepts, important lessons, and new worlds page by page,” said Duane Davis, executive director of My Very Own Library.  “It’s important that children have that experience. We want children and their families to know that this summer, they can lose themselves and find themselves in good books on shelves in their very own libraries.”


Children who are engaged readers tend to achieve more in school. My Very Own Library addresses the educational achievement gap by stimulating children’s love of reading. By 8th grade, students can collect nearly 100 books in his/her personal library.

Founded in 2011, My Very Own Library is an international literacy initiative, with programs in six U.S. cities and the Dominican Republic. It has served 50,000 students and 96 schools with nearly 2.1 million books. The University of Chicago, the program’s home since 2015, is committed to helping improve the reading, writing, and general academic performance of students. “Giving books to young children not only sparks a love of reading in students, but studies show that it can lead to better academic and social-emotional outcomes,” said Duane Davis, executive director of K-12 Education Initiatives for the Office of President at University of Chicago. “One of the easiest ways to help a young child, no matter their family’s income, is to gift them the right books for their age.” For more information, visit the My Very Own Library website or watch a video about the initiative.

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