As we celebrate Book Trust’s 20th anniversary, our commitment to sparking delight, curiosity and wonder through reading continues—inspiring lifelong literacy journeys for Book Trust students and families along the way.
When Book Trust first started in 2001, our mission to engage every child in book choice and ownership, cultivating literacy-rich communities, served 171 students in three Colorado schools. We are now a national early literacy program supporting over 40,000 students in 20 states.
Book access remains the single biggest barrier to literacy in this country, and in low-income areas, the ratio of books-to-children is 1 to 300 kids. However, books alone are not enough. Studies confirm a longstanding belief guiding Book Trust’s mission: choice matters – and is more motivating to students than book access alone. Through Scholastic Book Club offerings, each one of our students selects books of interest every month of the school year, engaging in reading and building home libraries. It’s a simple formula with powerful results.
Your commitment to our program over the past two decades has provided access to over 450,000 students to choose and own nearly 9 million books. You’ve cultivated a culture of literacy at schools and in homes, which strengthens the fabric of entire communities. And you have supported the creation of home libraries, bringing the magic of reading to Book Trust families.
As we chart a course for the future, we know our work as an equity game changer is not done. Expanding the joy and power of reading to students across the country remains our steadfast north star.
Every child discovers the joy and power
of reading to create limitless possibilities.
Engaging every child in
book choice and ownership,
cultivating literacy-rich communities.
As students and educators grappled with distance learning and school closures this past year, the equity divide in our nation’s education system continued to grow. One year into the pandemic, hybrid, distance or remote learning environments replaced in-class instruction and far fewer students were on target to read at grade level. The impact of falling behind in reading is significant for students, with research indicating that third grade test scores are predictive of future educational outcomes.
For 20 years, Book Trust has been laser focused on empowering students in Title I schools to choose and own Scholastic books at no cost to them. We are guided by research which demonstrates that literacy challenges can be mitigated with increased access to books and the opportunity for students to choose them. These two simple, yet highly effective components of the Book Trust program which promote a motivation to read, along with enhanced reading practices – both in the classroom and at home.
When Book Trust schools, teachers, students and families across the country celebrate the arrival of books each month of the school year, they are cultivating a culture of literacy across entire communities. Discovering the joy and power of reading is essential for a child to thrive and there is no greater magic than the first book we fall in love with.
Books chosen & owned
Students served this year
Schools served in 20 states
2020-2021 Book Trust Communities
“The biggest support Book Trust has provided this year is giving the opportunity for our students to have books and create their own library at home since they are not able to visit our school library or even use our library in our classroom.”
Book Trust Teacher
"Books are a way of cultivating knowledge and intriguing the imagination. Without access, those would be stunted."
Book Trust Teacher
Supporting Social-Emotional Learning Through Books
Critical to our story is the role we play in making sure books are available as a consistent fixture to support students' social and emotional health. The pandemic has not only compounded challenges for students in Title I schools when it comes to reading, but also led to a more marked need to support their social and emotional health. As students explore the Scholastic Book Clubs flyers each month for books that interest and excite them, they are given access to a rich library of books to support learning and growth in all aspects of their life.
Books like Kindness Counts 123 and Listening with My Heart allow students to explore kindness to others and themselves. And in Be You, young readers are reminded that they are unique and special, while learning patience and persistence.
From a young age, these books and others like them can serve as powerful tools to equip students with the language, knowledge, and skills needed to support their social-emotional growth.
Cultivating a Culture of Literacy at School and at Home
In low-income areas, there is an average of just one book for every 300 children. Book Trust and its partners are working to change this by engaging students to choose, read and own books every month of the school year. This helps them build home libraries and have books as a consistent companion at home, all while fostering continued learning as well as family engagement.
“These books are truly changing my daughter’s life and making her so happy."
Book Trust parent Sarrah Walters has seen significant improvement in her daughter’s reading skills after her first grade teacher implemented the Book Trust program. “She is so excited when she gets the books each month, and I’m so thankful for this program!” This excitement carries over when the books come home, where the two are reading together every night. “She loves growing her home library, keeping her books in her room and being able to share them with her family.”
Sarrah is grateful to Book Trust donors and teachers for their commitment to the program that has led to increased reading and family engagement for her six-year-old. "I’m thankful everyday that students like my daughter have a chance to push themselves because they were given this chance to learn and grow.”
"Providing our students with books is one of the most powerful things we can do as educators."
When COVID-19 closed schools to in-person instruction, Fort Washakie Elementary staff knew that couldn't press pause when it comes to getting free monthly books to their students. By leveraging the school district’s lunch delivery program — or “lunch bus” — books were delivered to students at home.
“One of the things we hear most from our families is that they are thankful for providing the opportunity to read,” says Ashley Archambault, who coordinates the Book Trust program for the school. “Book Trust allows us to gift books to our students, and that is amazing.”
The school, which primarily serves Shoshone and Northern Arapahoe families on the Fort Washakie Indian Reservation in Wyoming, partners with Book Trust to ensure books are available at home to meet their daily reading goals.
“You can see in their eyes how excited they are to have a book to take home and keep,” adds Ashley.
“We’re proud to be part of the Book Trust program. Our funding helps purchase books, and we also get to get back to the basics of reading and human connection. It’s a truly fulfilling experience.”
Corporate donors and volunteers are essential elements of the Book Trust program, bringing not only crucial support, but valued volunteer engagement to Book Trust classrooms. “Reading is so foundational, and we have such a meaningful opportunity to help change the course of someone’s life by helping get them excited about reading," says Shannon Guild, Regional Diversity Officer and Vice President at Morgan Stanley.
Following a grant from the Morgan Stanley Foundation, Shannon, as the leader of Morgan Stanley’s Diversity and Inclusion Council for the nine-state Great Lakes Region, was driven to find a way to make an impact at the local level. The result is an employee-driven volunteer program where Morgan Stanley employees from seven markets read to Book Trust students each month.
Shannon’s proud of the commitment of her team and school partners to continue the program virtually over the past year and is looking forward to growing her team’s involvement. “We want to show the next generation of children what they could be, and sometimes that can be accomplished simply by seeing a professional in a business suit that looks like them.”
“Holding print in their hands—at school and at home—is critical to literacy in the classroom.”
First grade teacher Jennifer Rozboril feels lucky to be part of the Book Trust program. With nearly 90 percent of her students coming from low-income families, buying books simply isn’t an option. Through Book Trust, her students are able to pick books that interest them to build their home libraries, which she says is “changing my students’ lives, as well as mine."
Home libraries are critical in helping her students meet the goal of 20 minutes of reading at home each evening. “They are so excited to get their Scholastic Book Clubs books each month and can’t believe they get to take them home,” she says. “They are even more excited when they come back and show the book on their reading log.”
2020-2021 Book Trust Community & Suppporters
Book Trust's philanthropic partners provide the resources needed to expand our reach, increase our impact, and support our students to discover the joy and power of reading.
Financials - Year Ending June 30, 2021
Foundations · $1,805,950
Individuals · $927,183
Program Service Revenue · $552,357
In-Kind Contributions · $292,716
Corporations · $325,593
Organizations · $39,800
Events · $113,955
Other · $10,258
Program · $2,442,708
Fundraising · $371,817
Management & General · $289,069
Net Assets Beginning of Year $2,554,248
Net Assets End of Year $3,518,466
Change in Net Assets $964,218