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Children's Book Express Reaches Milestone

Minneapolis Community and Technical College’s (MCTC) Children’s Book Express, created to instill a love for literature and reading among young people, has given away 20,000 books since 2000. Students, staff and faculty donate new and used children’s books to the program, which makes the books available at no cost to students in need on campus. These students share the books with their own children and other young people in their lives.

“Too many children have never held a book by the time they enter kindergarten. I’m inspired to create a College-wide movement, beginning at MCTC and spreading across other two- and four-year colleges, to ensure young people have an opportunity to explore the world through the written word,” said Phil Martin, English faculty at MCTC and founder of Children’s Book Express. “Reading sparks the imagination like no other medium and I personally saw how books can bring about a passion for reading and creativity in my own son. I wanted to ensure other children had the same opportunity to experience the joy of reading. ” Colleges and K-12 schools interested in starting Children’s Book Express on their own campuses can contact Phil Martin at Phil.Martin@minneapolis.edu.

According to the U.S. Department of Education, “since 1983 more than 10 million Americans reached the 12th grade without learning to read at a basic level. In the same period, more than six million Americans dropped out of high school.” Children’s Book Express was built on the entrepreneurial spirit to create, manage and grow a program to encourage literacy as a tool to succeed. “Children who have not developed some basic literacy skills by the time they enter school are three to four times more likely to drop out in later years,” according to the National Adult Literacy Survey by the U.S. Department of Education.

“Books have become almost extinct among young people who spend hundreds of hours playing video games and watching television,” said Angela Baerthel, MCTC student and Children’s Book Express donor. “I enjoy reading to my own three children and when we finish reading a book, they are eager to share with Children’s Book Express. As a result, we have become ongoing book donors.”