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177 Million Dollar Reading Initiative Off the Ground

January 25th, 2022 by Mike Vasilinda

Florida is beginning the largest book distribution program in America. Called the New Worlds Reading Initiative, more than 81 thousand books are on their way to struggling readers across Florida. As Mike Vasilinda tells us, the hope is the initiative will keep  slow readers from becoming dropouts.

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

In addition to these students, 81thousand 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” complemented the Governor.

DeSantis then told reporters:

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

177 million is in this years budget for the New World’s 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” says the Speaker.

After the initial funding runs out, corporations will be able to donate up to fifty 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 newworldsreading.com/enroll.

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