Singer and songwriter Taylor Swift has partnered with book publisher Scholastic in the donation of 25,000 new, age-appropriate books to 25 public schools in New York City.
Made through the Scholastic Possible Fund, the gift will result in 25 schools, all in need of additional reading material for their students, each receiving 1,000 new children's books due to Swift's support of the company's "Open a World of Possible" initiative created to encourage independent reading.
Swift, a long-time advocate for literacy, hosted an almost 30 minute web chat for classrooms in October 2014 in which she discussed how important books and reading have been to her throughout her life, adding that she would not have become a songwriter if it had not been for her love of books. She continued the chat by taking questions from children in attendance. Since its first airing, the webcast has been seen by over 4.5 million students across the country, reports Karen Butler for UPI.
"Scholastic is honored to join with Taylor Swift who continues to show a passion for literacy and a commitment to spreading the message of how influential books can be in a child's life," said Greg Worrell, President, Scholastic Education. "Through this donation, we aim to encourage independent reading which inspires a love of learning and to âOpen a World of Possible' for more New York City students by making sure they have access to the very best children's books."
A recent Scholastic Kids & Family Reading Report found that children from low-income homes between the ages of 6 and 17 are more likely to read in school than they are at home compared to their wealthier peers. The report showed that independent reading can encourage children to read even more, with nine out of ten children saying the books they are the most likely to find enjoyable and finish are the ones they select themselves.
According to the Scholastic website, their mission is to promote independent reading, which they view to be a critical part of growth in childhood. They say that when supported by teachers, parents, and schools, children who choose their own books to read also empower themselves to make their own choices and, in doing so, open a new world of possibilities.
The Scholastic Possible Fund, created as a part of the company's Open A World of Possible initiative, donates quality books to children in low-income communities, as well as those recovering from natural disasters or other crises, in the hopes of promoting and improving global literacy. Books from the fund are distributed by non-profit partner organizations that also help families to understand the importance of reading from birth through adulthood.
To date, the Scholastic Possible Fund has donated over 43 million books.