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A New Chapter: Books in the D

Contributed by: Joy Lyman, 313Reads Michigan Education Policy Fellow with Teach for America Detroit


313Reads is excited to announce a new project- Books in the D. Thanks to a generous in-kind donation from Molina Health and in partnership with Grace Church, Center for Success Network, and Children’s Literacy Project, we are receiving 60,000 brand new K-12 books to distribute to literacy programs across the city of Detroit. 


This is a significant acquisition for young minds in Detroit. When it comes to the numbers, Michigan has a long way to go when it comes to fourth grade reading. We know that access to books, especially those that affirm and represent our communities, can create joy in young minds. Building book joy in beloved community is a part of our organization’s ongoing strategic plan, and we are so excited to see the impact that this massive amount of reading material has for our community. While building that joy, reading books stimulates brain development by exposing children to new ideas, concepts, and vocabulary. Reading also helps in the development of critical thinking skills, comprehension, and problem-solving abilities, and our students have not had equal access and opportunities to engage with reading materials to bolster their skills. These brand new books will support our students with literacy, language skills, excitement, as well as academic and personal success.


Books open up new worlds and allow young readers to explore different cultures, places, and time periods. This exposure encourages imagination and creativity, as children can visualize and immerse themselves in the stories they read. This imaginative play is crucial for overall cognitive and emotional development. We’re living in a time in Michigan when only 8% of schools in our state have access to a full-time librarian, and many of our schools have no library– in some cases because there is no librarian to staff the library and its doors are closed, or because, as with most charters, there is not the space or capital to create a school library. 313Reads Michgian Education Policy Fellow, Joy Lyman, is a ten year education veteran with experience in districts in and out of the city of Detroit, and in her career, the schools she has taught in have never had a functioning library or a librarian on staff. Additionally, families in our city have less access to books than families in the broader metro area. This influx of books in our community will give access to book joy to our young people. Growing book access is critical to grade level reading, literacy equity, and book joy! . 


Stay tuned for more information on how to apply for books for your organization. If your organization is interested in joining the coalition workgroup coordinating Books in the D, or having volunteers serve at the book site when they arrive, please reach out to leah@313reads.org  




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