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San Francisco Teachers and Literacy Advocates Give Away 40,000 Free Books for Low-Income Students

UESF First BookIt was an act of generosity that speaks volumes about the need for books in public schools. About 40,000 brand new donated books were handed out free to Bay Area teachers who work with low-income students on Saturday in a project mainly coordinated by United Educators of San Francisco (UESF) and First Book San Francisco, a literacy advocacy group that’s part of a national network. 

Educators lined up in San Francisco around the block (see photo) to get free books to give to their students so students can start building home libraries and begin appreciating the power and fun of reading. The San Francisco Chronicle covered the extraordinary event that was made possible by numerous sponsors and more than 100 volunteers. It was also supported by the American Federation of Teachers.

“Children do better in class when they read at home, and we’re very happy to provide quality, new books to thousands of students in San Francisco,” says UESF Political Director Ken Tray, who co-chaired the ‘First Book’ event. “It is part of our ongoing effort to make sure that all students have the tools and resources they need to achieve.”

The limit was 100 books per teacher, and educators packed the Sports Basement, which donated space. Darcie Blackburn, a first grade teacher at Sheridan Elementary in San Francisco, was happy to brave the rain to pick up free books for her students, most of whom come from low-income families. "We have a strong focus on literacy at our school, and these books will be invaluable in helping to encourage a love of reading in our students. I can't wait to see their faces light up when they realize they get to keep the books!"
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