Program offers free books for underprivileged children

40 'Read to Learn' bookshelves placed throughout Miami-Dade County

MIAMI-DADE, Fla. – A great South Florida program is putting free books in children's hands, and now you can help this story have an even happier ending.

There are currently 40 "Read to Learn" bookshelves placed throughout Miami-Dade County in community centers, health clinics, and even the juvenile justice building. And the point of these free books is to encourage kids to pick a book and keep it.

Studies show nearly half of Miami-Dade County third-graders fail to read at grade level, and children who are not reading well by third grade are four times more likely to drop out of high school. This is why The Children's Trust and The Center for Literature and Theater at Miami-Dade College teamed up to  deliver books to under-served areas. Their hope is that children will learn to love reading.

Studies show it doesn't matter if children read the same story over and over again. The important thing is to read, and be exposed to a book every single day.

"It actually helps with language development," said Dr. Scarlet Constant, a Pediatrician. "It encourages a routine. It helps with getting ready for bed and sleeping well and most importantly it's a bonding time for the parent and for the child."

Kids who might not have the money to buy books or go to the library can get a book for free at any of the 40 participating locations. And if they don't like it, they can bring it back and get another one.

If you or your business wants to help put more new or gently used books to good use, contact program organizers at 305-237-7418 or email Lissette.Mendez@mdc.edu.

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