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Why Give Books?
How Can I Help?
Donate Funds
Building Literacy
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Teachers' Choice
Design: Antithesis Advertising
Photos: Studio 2-B

Give Back, Give Books is Rochester Education Foundation's program to give books to city school students to take home or for city school libraries. Launched in 2006, we accept and distribute new books, encourage exciting literacy events with book distributions, and engage more community members in this effort supporting literacy.

Please contact us if you would like to donate new books, create a book drive at your workplace or school, or participate in a literacy event giving books to young people.

To date REF has proudly donated more than 34,000 new books to help build the home libraries of city students, and to city school libraries. The books have an estimated value of more than $250,000. In honor of our efforts, REF received the Friend of the Library Award in June 2008 from the Rochester School Library Association.

Our Teachers' Choice application process offers new books to Rochester City School District educators serving city students. Teachers' Choice applicants can apply for up to 200 new books apiece to be used in projects supporting literacy such as student book clubs, parent-child reading events and other activities or events. Alternately, they may order up to 100 special-order books. Most books donated for teacher projects are required to be given to students for their home libraries by the end of the school year. Educators can keep a class set so their projects can be offered again.

Students and teachers have responded enthusiastically. As a teacher directing a high school student book club at lunchtime noted: "They were very excited to see what books were available, especially those in a series. They built relationships with others and were anxious to find out what book was next. They used each other as resources and engaged in conversation about the books. Students involved in the club were also the best-behaved students in class."

The program was professionally evaluated in 2011. It was found to be a program that "exemplifies some of the best practices of reading instruction."

Give Back, Give Books has also:

  • Donated books about civil rights and justice to five school libraries.
  • Donated a new birthday book to each student at School 16.

Teachers' Choice is supported by REF's donors and by grants from the Ames Amzalak Charitable Foundation, the Gannett Foundation, the Greater Rochester Health Foundation, Gretchen's Kids Inc., and in-kind support from donors including Church Women United and First Book.

Did you know that...

  • Many city school students do not have books at home.
  • The average fiction book in city school libraries was about 20 years old when we launched the program in 2006.
  • Providing books to children and school libraries is a proven way to help students become more successful academically and in the future.

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