Teachers Join Forces With First Book: Weingarten Challenges AFT Members to Give Five Million Books to Kids in Need

Jul 30, 2012, 15:49 ET from First Book

DETROIT, July 30, 2012 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- At their national convention this weekend in Detroit, the American Federation of Teachers (AFT) announced a major expansion of their ongoing partnership with First Book, a nonprofit that provides new books to kids in need.

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First Book and the AFT have completed successful pilot projects together in over 20 cities across the country, putting nearly 250,000 new books into the hands of children from low-income families. At the convention, AFT president Randi Weingarten challenged the assembled educators to distribute five million new books over the next year.

"AFT members and affiliates have already ensured that thousands of children have books at home that they otherwise would not have had," said Weingarten. "Having books of their own can open children's minds to learning and literature, and introduce them to worlds beyond their own. This is our new challenge. I am calling on AFT members to partner with First Book to distribute five million new books this year to students in need."

First Book works with the publishing industry to provide millions of new books each year to schools and programs serving kids in need, for free or at low cost. By working with the AFT, one of the nation's largest unions of teachers and educators, First Book is able to reach thousands more Title I schools that are badly in need of quality books and educational resources.

"Teachers understand the importance of books and reading better than anyone," said Kyle Zimmer, president and CEO of First Book. "Without an ongoing supply of quality books, children miss out on the chance to become strong readers and successful students."

"By working with our friends in the AFT, we're able to reach thousands more schools serving kids in need," Zimmer said. "The dedication of these educators is inspiring. Everyone at First Book is proud to be able to help them make a difference in their students' lives."

Any teachers, librarians or school staff working with children from low-income families can sign up with First Book to access a steady stream of new, quality books.

CONTACT: Brian Minter of First Book, 202-744-3432 or bminter@firstbook.org

SOURCE First Book