New Worlds Reading Initiative giving away books to students

Published: Jan. 25, 2022 at 4:19 PM CST
Email This Link
Share on Pinterest
Share on LinkedIn

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (CAPITOL NEWS SERVICE) - Florida is beginning the largest book distribution program in America. Called the New Worlds Reading Initiative, more than 81,000 books are on their way to struggling readers across Florida. The hope is the initiative will keep slow readers from becoming dropouts.

Governor Ron DeSantis handed out colorfully illustrated books at a Wakulla elementary school. The book, “Swimmy,” is about creatures that overcome danger with ingenuity and teamwork.

In addition to these students, 81,000 other slow readers are getting the book in the mail, and will get a new book each month.

The Governor watched as one student read a pledge to read everyday, concluding, “I’m feeding my brain what it needs everyday.”

“Wow, great job,” the Governor said.

“And nearly 90 percent of the students who failed to earn a high school diploma were struggling with reading by grade three,” DeSantis told reporters.

One hundred seventy-seven million dollars are in this year’s budget for the New Worlds Reading Initiative. It’s the brain child of House Speaker Chris Sprowls.

“If a child can learn to read, they can learn. If they can learn, everything becomes possible” the Speaker said.

After the initial funding runs out, corporations will be able to donate up to $50 million a year to the program, and then take a credit against state taxes.

In addition to the books, parents are also being given an entire learning plan that includes text messages and support materials.

The Speaker says the parents are a key to the programs success.

“Engaging the parents in a real way, so that includes getting that communication; here’s a video about the book your kid got. Here’s some quality content that will help you read that book to your kid; give you some techniques.”

The books are free to families with children in K through 5 who are not reading up to grade level. Nine books a school year will be sent to students homes.

To learn more or to enroll your child, go to