U.S. Secretary of Education Margaret Spellings announced last week that 850,000 free books will be made available for a 2008 Summer Reading Initiative. The books, which will be provided by Random House, a New York City-based publishing company, will be distributed to schools, libraries, and literacy organizations serving disadvantaged children nationwide.
The initiative is the latest effort of the Book Donation campaign, a nearly 2-year-old collaboration by the federal Department of Education, major publishing companies, and First Book, a Washington-based nonprofit organization that promotes literacy.
“Summer reading ensures reading skills are fresh when students start a new school year,” Secretary Spellings said in a statement. “We know from the [National Assessment of Educational Progress] that the more time students spend reading, the better they perform.”