United Way of Summit & Medina runs one of the largest Imagination Library programs in the state of Ohio. Each month, a brand new, age-appropriate book is mailed to the more than 18,000 Summit and Medina County children enrolled in the program. And in 2022, United Way celebrated an important milestone – one million free books distributed to local kids.
What does one million free books look like? Well, if you assume a half pound per book, one million books weigh roughly 250 tons - about the weight of a one-story house. It’s heavier than the largest blue whale that ever lived, and heavier than the Statue of Liberty.
More importantly, what impact does one million books have on local children who are enrolled in the program? Studies show that kids who are read to often in early childhood develop stronger literacy skills as they grow older. Since reading is the foundation of learning, early literacy is a strong indicator of future success in school. That’s why United Way’s Bold Goal 1 is to raise third-grade reading rates in Akron Public Schools. Reading is also a fun and engaging passtime to share with your children, so it’s a win-win situation!
One million books means that tens of thousands of local children have a great start to a successful education, and that tens of thousands of families share a love of reading. “To receive a true gift is rare,” says Deborah, who raises two children enrolled in Imagination Library. “To see the kids’ faces light up when I hand them their new book melts my heart.”