Spring 2019 | First Book

The Rutgers University-Office of University and Community Partnerships (OUCP)
in collaboration with the Newark Board of Education-Office of Early Childhood and Program for Parents recently distributed over 9,000 brand new children’s books to district schools, community-based preschool providers, charter schools, and social service agencies. The books were donated to Rutgers University through First Book. First Book is a nonprofit organization that endeavors to create equal access to quality education by making books and educational resources affordable to its network of more than 400,000 educators who exclusively serve children in need. Since 1992, First Book has distributed globally more than 175 million educational resources and books from various publishing houses. OUCP has been a First Book distribution partner since 2015.

The OUCP and RU-N students who participate in the America Reads/Count Program and Jumpstart distributed books to approximately 30 schools, community-based organizations, and childcare centers on June 6, 2019. The partnership wanted to ensure children have access to high-quality books during the summer months in order to prevent summer learning loss. Research shows that “income-based reading gaps grow over the summer, given that middle class students tend to show improvement in reading skills while lower-income students tend to experience loss.” (https://www.brookings.edu/research/summer-learning-loss-what-is-it-and-what-can-we-do-about-it/)

“Our First Book campaign occurs twice a year, usually in December and June. Our goal is to help students start their own private libraries at home,” shared RU-N Assistant Chancellor for University-Community Partnerships Diane Hill. “This year I’m happy to report that we gave more books to younger students (birth to 3rd grade) than in prior years.”
Rutgers is proud to announce the Fall distribution will be lead by Program for Parents. From the late 1990s through 2006 Programs for Parents was the first and only distributor of First Books in Essex County. Their goal then and still now is to introduce reading to the 16,000 parents and children who visit Program for Parents yearly. They also will provide books to child care centers, family child care providers and the community at large.