Teachers’ union hands out thousands of free children’s books in St. Paul
The American Federation of Teachers (AFT) distributed 40,000 free children’s books to students, educators, and families Saturday at the Neighborhood House in St. Paul.
So far, the union has given out 2 million books across the nation since December 2021.
The book giveaway is part of the “Reading Opens the World” initiative and the union’s “Real Solutions” campaign.
Families at the event could take up to 30 free books and educators can take up to 50 free books for their classroom libraries.
Food, read-aloud, cookie decorating, and other fun activities filled the gaps when kids weren’t receiving books.
According to the most recent report by the Minnesota Dept. of Education, in 2022, less than half of Minnesota students are meeting or exceeding the standards for their grade. The disruptions due to the pandemic make focusing on literacy even more important to assist students and get them to catch up and thrive.
The report also showed that school attendance is dropping, with only 69.8% of students statewide attending school at least 90% of the time.
Randi Weingarten, President of AFT says reading instills confidence and helps reduce inequities.
“Books create joy. Sometimes holidays create joy, books open the world for kids. books are foundational for our future and for knowledge,” said Weingarten.
In a few months, AFT will have distributed 10 million books.