Soar with Reading has Landed in Newark this Summer with Free Books
If you happen to be in New Jersey with your kids this month, be sure to get some free books courtesy of JetBlue!
As part of the company’s Soar with Reading program, there will be five digital vending machines throughout the city throughout the month of August, where visitors will have the opportunity to order brand-new books that will be distributed free of charge.
Psst… Looking for more ways to encourage your kids to read. Check out The 10 Best Book Series for Your Kids to Start Reading.
The Soar with Reading program has been around since 2011 with the goal of increasing access to age-appropriate books for children in underserved communities.
Since 2015, JetBlue has taken a creative approach to providing children with books through their free book vending machine program. In previous years, the vending machines have been located in cities like Detroit, Washington DC, Oakland and Fort Lauderdale.
Newark Mayor Ras Baraka and New Jersey Congressman Donald Payne Jr., joined with JetBlue to bring the program to Newark this summer. Baraka said he is enthusiastic about the city’s partnership with JetBlue.
“It is important for our children to find themselves, in stories and pictures, in books,” Baraka said. “This is a holistic approach to defining the future of our youth and in turn the future of our city.”
The innovative program offers books of all reading levels and lets visitors browse through their diverse selection of titles, authors and reading levels and also allows readers to select books in English or Spanish.
As a part of fostering a reading habit in children, the vending machines also offer a selection of books for adults. Research has shown positive educational effects on children who observe their parents reading.
The books available in the vending machines will be updated periodically throughout the summer and come from the publishing partners including HarperCollins Publishers, Little Bee Books, Lil’ Libros, Lee & Low Books, Candlewick Press, Penguin Random House, TOKYO POP and Simon & Schuster.
To date, JetBlue has donated over $4 million worth of books through the Soar with Reading program.
In addition to the vending machines, Soar with Reading also includes a variety of resources that parents can use to foster reading at home. Some of these resources include a website to help find local libraries and Story Online, a database that hosts videos of celebrities reading children’s books.
Dr. Susan B. Neuman, professor of childhood and literacy education at NYU Steinhardt, has praised the program and its ability to reduce the effects of “the infamous summer slide.”
“Studies have shown that owning 25 books or more has a sizable effect on achievement, with each additional increment of books, such as 10 or more, improving achievement,” Neuman said. “This program allows children to own books and combat the knowledge loss that so often accompanies summer.”
You can find the digital vending machines in the following locations:
- La Casa de Don Pedro: 23 Broadway
- The Leaguers: 200 W. South Orange Ave
- Newark Ironbound Recreation Center: 226 Rome Street
- Springfield Branch Library: 50 Hayes Street
- Van Buren Branch Library: 140 Van Buren Street
Additionally, Soar with Reading is hosting a story time with WABC-TV’s Sade Baderinwa this Friday, Aug. 12, at 1pm at the Van Buren branch library. Every kid child that attends the event will go home with a free book and have a chance to order up to six additional free books of their choice.
Don’t miss this opportunity for a fun story time and a chance to add new books to your child’s library!