Reading is absolutely fundamental.
It takes you to places you’ve never been, meet people past, present, and future, and learn things you never knew inside you.
It provides hours of entertainment with host of actors, stages, and drama, all in the comfort and safety of your head.
And the best part is, reading is an adventure you can revisit any time, any place you feel like it.
However, not everyone is so lucky to have access to these wonderful worlds of words.
JetBlue, together with the Soar With Reading program, is placing royal blue vending machines filled all kinds of kid-friendly age-appropriate books in places they call “book deserts”.
Back in 2001, a study showed that there was only one age-appropriate book for every 300 kinds in underserved communities. After commissioning a childhood literacy expert to delve further, they found the results to be even more dire than imagined.
“[I]n the shadow of our nation’s capital, in 2015, there is access to only one-age appropriate book for every 830 children,” says the website for the campaign. Now, Soar With Reading is seeking to change that. Since 2011, $1.25 million in books has been distributed through these vending machines to children, courtesy of JetBlue.
And the best part? The books are absolutely free, and kids can help themselves to ask many books as they want. That’s practically like Christmas all year ’round!
To start, three of these vending machines have been placed at different key locations in the Anacostia area of Washington, D.C. This is just the beginning, as the campaign is ramping up to spread the love of reading to other cities and states in the US, with Fort Lauderdale, Florida, and Detroit, Michigan as top contenders.
Of course, Soar with Reading understand that the fight to keep child literacy healthy isn’t going to end with this campaign, but it’s a start. You can’t become a good reader if you don’t have something to read, and this campaign seeks to improve the odds by introducing more books to these communities to open up kids’ minds to the pleasures and wonders of reading.
So hats off to you, Soar With Reading! We’re looking forward to seeing more of your vending machines and more kids getting hooked on reading, thanks to you!
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