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Why Give Books?
How Can I Help?
Donate Funds
Building Literacy
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Teachers' Choice

Thank you for your interest in obtaining books for city students.

REF has donated more than 40,000 new books since the launch of Give Back, Give Books in 2006, supporting parent-child reading events, school book fairs, school library collection expansion and summer reading programs. In honor of our efforts, REF received a Big Pencil Award from Writer's and Books in 2013, and a Friend of the Library Award in June 2008 from the Rochester School Library Association .

The purpose of the Teachers' Choice Program is to support best practices to enhance student achievement in literacy using teacher-designed literacy activities. The program enhances learning resources and supports the distribution of books to children through their classrooms to promote the growth of home libraries and reading among students.


Educators can apply for up to 200 new books or 100 special-order books beginning Sept. 29, 2017 through Oct. 31, 2017. Rochester city or charter school teachers only may apply.

Our theme this year is "Planet Earth: A Wide World of Reading." We will take a broad approach to the theme - this could include political, geographical, ecological, cultural or other themes related to our planet. Applicants do not need to use this theme, but those who do receive a few extra points in the selection process.

This year, educators can also apply to get class subscriptions to quality children's magazines thanks to the Gannett Foundation.


Please fill out applications carefully! Each year we get applicants who are disqualified because they don't answer the questions.

To apply, please go to:

Click here for the list of 2016-2017 recipients.

Questions and answers follow below. Please feel free to contact us at 271-5790 or with additional questions.

What's the process?

Our online application process begins on this page with each cycle. We announce the beginning of each cycle via the REF e-newsletter mailing list; click here to subscribe.

Who can apply?

Educators in Rochester City School District schools.

When can I apply?

Sept. 29, 2017 to Oct 31, 2017. We announce the beginning of each cycle on social media and via the REF e-newsletter mailing list; click here to subscribe.

How many books can I apply for?

We will offer a maximum of 200 books per application, or 100 special-order books. Funds are limited. Applications which are high quality and do not require the purchase of expensive books are most likely to be funded. Paperbacks are generally preferred.

Application Criteria

Value is placed on projects that promote literacy which:

  1. Are innovative and go beyond existing RCSD programs.
  2. Are student-centered with an emphasis on what students will tangibly accomplish during the project.
  3. Support home, parental or community involvement.

Applicants must agree to participate in REF's evaluation process.

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