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Keep Kids Reading While Schools Are Closed

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As the COVID-19 (coronavirus) outbreak continues and school districts nationwide shut down—some for the rest of the academic year—students in need are being hit particularly hard, with few resources to enable them to continue developing their reading skills at home. Even with online learning available, many students lack the necessary digital tools to use that option effectively. Supplying them with free books is just one way to help them stay engaged.

In response to school closures, HMH has donated 65,000 books to two long-standing partners, First Book and Save the Children, via the company’s book donation program, HMH Books for Equity. These organizations are making sure the books get into the hands of students across the country who need them the most.

“We could not be more grateful for this donation,” First Book president, CEO, and cofounder Kyle Zimmer said. “We know from experience that kids having books and story time at home helps create a sense of normalcy, and that is sorely needed in the midst of this crisis while they are out of school.” 

“Wide-scale learning loss is among the biggest—and longest—impacts that the coronavirus could have on children in the U.S.,” said Shane Garver, senior director of rural education for Save the Children. “With such an unprecedented number of school closures across America, Save the Children knows that ensuring children have the opportunity to continue learning is essential. We are working with more than 200 rural communities, benefiting more than 100,000 kids and families, to ensure that learning continues.”

Schools are recommended to register directly with First Book to gain access to donated books, including HMH titles. Creating an account is free and takes only about five minutes. Sign up any time at First Book's website. “The only cost is 55 cents per book for shipping, and we’re trying to raise funds to cover that cost now,” Zimmer said. Anyone can help by making donations here. Educators working in a Title I eligible school, or serving a student population with 70% or more coming from low-income families, will qualify for donated books and resources.

Garver said Save the Children team members are now on the ground making sure books and other educational materials get distributed as quickly and as widely as possible. He also noted that, "Save the Children is committed to helping children and families during this uncertain time by providing learning resources for our nation’s youngest learners—available for free at the Save the Children website."

HMH will continue to donate books to First Book and Save the Children in the coming weeks. 


To help you continue teaching and learning during the current outbreak of coronavirus (COVID-19), visit our At-Home Learning Support page for free resources.

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