Jan 20, 2022 - News

Columbus students to get free books every month

Illustration of a house-shaped bookcase
Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

Columbus City Schools will use some of its federal pandemic relief funds to give free books to every student monthly.

Why it matters: Children in low-income families have less access to books at home, which can negatively impact academic achievement. This helps level the playing field.

How it works: Starting this month, younger grades get a "favorite titles" bundle, while high schoolers receive a mix of "Hidden Figures," "The Racers," "Boundaries" and "The Disappearing Spoon."

  • The program continues through the 2022-23 school year, district spokesperson Jacqueline Bryant tells Axios.

What they're saying: "These texts will both be a mirror that allows students to see a direct reflection of themselves … and a window, which means providing them an opportunity to envision a world beyond their own," Kelly Rivers, district executive director of specialized instruction and inclusion, said at a school board meeting.

By the numbers: The first month will cost about $800,000, Bryant says.

Bonus books: Separately, since late 2020 the Ohio Governor's Imagination Library has mailed books to kids' homes until their fifth birthday through a partnership with Dolly Parton's Imagination Library. Sign up here.

💭 Alissa's thought bubble: I love these programs! Books can have a big impact on a child. My favorite childhood book was "The Rainbow Fish," which sparked my lifelong love of oceans.

  • I'm glad he's still popular — my parents picked up this plush for me recently.
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