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St. Louis Kicks Off ‘Literacy for the Lou’ with Free Books for Nearly 4,000 Attendees

Langley Leverett  //  Feb 16, 2024

St. Louis Kicks Off ‘Literacy for the Lou’ with Free Books for Nearly 4,000 Attendees

St. Louis Public Schools (SLPS) launched “Literacy for the Lou,” a city-wide literacy initiative partnering with the St. Louis Public Libraries, in late January. The program will get children engaged in reading by placing more books and reading materials in schools and homes.

St. Louis Public Library hosted an event to kick off the initiative that attracted nearly 4,000 attendees; students, families, and community members who came were able to explore new books, play literacy games, visit and meet community partners, and learn more about additional resources to help inform care-givers about the power of literacy. 

During the event, authors Malcom Mitchell, Tami Charles, and spoken-word artist Trey Baker visited with kids and gave special remarks. Scholastic assisted with distribution efforts of over 10,000 carefully selected books, and even Clifford the Big Red Dog joined in on the fun and made several appearances to help spread the word about this exciting program all over the district, including 20 specific campus visits. 

Literacy for the Lou is the flagship initiative for St. Louis Public Schools and was created to position literacy as the most important lever in advancing students’ academic success, as well as encourage reading as daily habit that will bring lifelong strength and joy. Students left the launch event with carefully curated collections to add to their personal home libraries. Research from the Scholastic whitepaper Home Libraries shows that “when students have access to a larger number of books in their home, their reading motivation is higher, their attitude towards reading is more positive, and reading competence increases.” 


At the event, Superintendent Dr. Keisha Scarlett reminded families: “Being literate is one of the most powerful tools in humanity. Literacy is more than just the ability to read a book, it is the key to understanding the world around you, it is the key to opportunity and engagement in our democracy."

Research from the Scholastic Kids & Family Reading Report™ shows that 96% of parents agree that every child should have at least a few books of their own at home, making this widespread program a critical helping hand in that effort. The event’s success is a remarkable testament to the power of family and community engagement, and is only the beginning to a movement that will create a lasting impact for every child.

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