31 Newark Public Schools Get the Gift of Reading with Thousands of Donated Books from United Way and Scholastic

United Way’s “My Very Own Library” Reading Program Kicks Off in NPS


NEWARK, NJ – December 20, 2017- Earlier this week, Newark Public School students received the first installment of a total of 200,000 free books at the kickoff of United Way of Essex and West Hudson’s My Very Own Library program, in partnership with the Roberto Clemente Elementary School. In all, 31 schools are receiving book through the month of June.

The students, teachers and administrators at Roberto Clemente Elementary, where the program was officially launched, were joined by Senator Teresa Ruiz at a special assembly with local dignitaries and five children’s authors who came along to celebrate the kickoff of the program.

“The partnership with United Way and Scholastic is an important one in that it brings the excitement of reading to our students and to their families, not with just one book but many books throughout the school year,” said Christopher D. Cerf, Superintendent of Newark Public Schools. “Programs, such as MVOL are essential to creating a love of reading, which we all know is the foundation of learning.”

Students at Chancellor Avenue School ride the Polar Express and later get treated to books and a reading by the author.

“My Very Own Library gives students the opportunity to explore books by selecting those they are interested in reading,” said Catherine Wilson, President & CEO, UWEWH. “Self-choice and voice is critical to students’ learning and MVOL provides students the ability to build their own home libraries. There is no better way to foster a love of reading than to allow students to choose the books they want to read during their free time.” 

Throughout the school year, MVOL partner schools will host Scholastic Book Fairs, where students select books to take home to build their own home libraries. For the 2017-2018 school year, the program will support 20,000 students from 31 public schools in Newark to take home 200,000 children’s books. 

According to Roger León, Assistant Superintendent of NPS said the kickoff this week is the beginning of six months of reading that will also include 93 book fairs, 93 family literacy events and much more. He said, “Every year, our students and families, look forward to this important partnership.”

Other NPS schools who hosted kickoff programs for students included Chancellor Avenue School, Mt. Vernon School and Speedway Academies.

According to the Scholastic Kids & Family Reading Report™: 6th Edition, 86% of children ages 6–17 agreed that it is “very important for my future to be a good reader,” however, kids from lower-income families have access to about half the number of books in their homes as their higher-income peers. 

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About United Way of Essex and West Hudson

Founded in 1923, United Way of Essex and West Hudson’s (UWEWH) mission is “to serve as an effective, results-oriented community builder by investing time and resources on initiatives that create strong communities and ensure their donor’s trust.”

About My Very Own Library

My Very Own Library was founded in 2011 by the late Ms. Anne Feeley (1954-2012). MVOL encourages and supports students’ love of reading by providing them the opportunity to choose brand new, free books to build their own home libraries. To date, MVOL has provided more than 1.8 million books to students in Newark, NJ; Richmond, CA; Chicago, IL; Wilmington, DE; Milwaukee, WI; and the Dominican Republic.

31 Schools (list below)

  • All 31 schools will also host 3 MVOL Book Fairs this school year (93 FREE Scholastic Book Fairs)
  • All 31 schools will also host 3 Family Literacy events this school year during their MVOL Book Fair week (3 x 31 = 93 Family Literacy Events)
  • All 31 schools will also host an author visit. 31 Author Visits this school year.
  • 20,000 Newark Public School Students will each select 3 books on Dec 12th (20,000 x 3 = 60,000 Free Books in DECEMBER
  • 20,000 Newark Public School Students will each select 3 books on Feb 21st (20,000 x 3 = 60,000 Free Books in FEBRUARY
  • 20,000 Newark Public School Students will each select 3 books  (+ 1 Summer book) on June 7th (20,000 x 4 = 80,000 Free Books in JUNE
  • TOTALS: 20,000 Newark Public School students will receive a total of 10 books this school year  = 200,0000 Books
Abington Avenue School George W. Carver School Quitman Street School
Belmont Runyon School Harriet Tubman School Rafael Hernandez School
Benjamin Franklin School Hawkins Street School Ridge Street School
Brick Avon Academy Hawthorne Avenue School Roberto Clemente School
Brick Peshine School Ivy Hill School South 17th Street School
Camden Street School Lincoln School South Street School
Chancellor Ave School Spencer Miller Community School Speedway Academies
Cleveland Elementary School Luis Munoz Marin School Sussex Avenue School
Dr. E. Alma Flagg School McKinley School Thirteenth Avenue School
Dr. William H. Horton School Mount Vernon School
Elliott Street School Oliver Street School