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Obama Announces Effort to Bring Free E-Books to Low-Income Children

By Liana Loewus — April 30, 2015 1 min read

Today at a library in southeast Washington, President Barack Obama announced that major book publishers have committed to making 10,000 e-books, worth about $250 million in all, freely available to students.

The effort builds on the administration’s ConnectEd initiative, which aims to bring broadband Internet access to 99 percent of U.S. students by 2017.

“We’re going to provide millions of e-books online so that they’re available for young people who maybe don’t have as many books at home or don’t always have access to a full stock of reading materials,” he said during this morning’s webinar sponsored by Discovery Education.

Macmillian, Penguin Random House, Simon & Schuster, and HarperCollins, among other publishers, have said they’ll make e-books available for K-12 students.

A group of libraries and nonprofits, including the book donation organization FirstBook, is working to create e-reader apps and other tools that will make digital content more accessible to students and families, according to the White House.

The president also called on libraries and community members to help put a library card in the hands of every student.

President Barack Obama, sitting next to 6th-grader Osman Yaya, a student at Wicomico County public schools’ Bennett Middle School in Salisbury, Md., speaks at Anacostia Library in Washington, as he participates in a live “virtual field trip” with middle school students. —Susan Walsh/AP

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A version of this news article first appeared in the Curriculum Matters blog.