‘Culture of Reading’ will provide books and instruction to low-income readers

The Michigan Department of Education (MDE) has established the “Culture of Reading” program to provide free books and reading instruction to Michigan’s low-income children. The program will be funded through private donations.

The Library of Michigan Foundation will be coordinating contributions from individuals, businesses, clubs and civic organizations, and groups for the purpose of providing books to young readers. Contributors can go to www.michigan.gov/cultureofreading for more information or to make a donation.

MDE, in partnership with the Library of Michigan, will also be establishing a grant that will provide copies of this year’s Michigan Reads! books to low-income children through their classrooms and early childhood programs. Educators who commit to using the books to promote scientifically-based reading instruction and/or family engagement activities focused on learning will be eligible to receive books for their classrooms. The number of classrooms and early childhood programs that receive the free books will depend on available resources.

This program coincides with two reading bills still in the Legislature. HB 5111 requires all third graders pass a reading assessment before they can move on to fourth grade. HB 5144 requires the State Department of Education to adopt policies and programs that enable students to be proficient in reading by the end of third grade. The bill also calls for pilot reading programs in urban school districts.