Reading Opens the World

Reading opens the world

In Dec 2021, AFT Randi Weingarten launched the AFT’s Reading Opens the World campaign, a new initiative that is focused on:

  • Giving teachers and school staff the tools and professional development that translated the science of reaching into useable resources to help students reading and read well;
  • Giving parents and caregivers fun and research-based tips and tools to support literacy;
  • Building on and forging new connections between families, communities, educators and schools to be partners in students’ literacy, and
  • Giving children and young people free books to read, love and keep because…


To reach these goals, President Weingarten committed to bringing 1 million books for home libraries for students and families in need to make books easily accessible and support families to have the resources and support they need read together at home.

We invite local and state AFT affiliate leaders to submit your Reading Opens the World requests to help get books and literacy tips, tools and resources into the hands of your students, families and communities working with your members, local parent groups, community organizations, faith-based groups and others to spread the love of reading. 

Requests can be made to support existing events or programs in place or, can create brand-new initiatives to help establish or strengthen relationships and help build a collaborative spirit between educators/staff in schools and the parents/guardians/caregivers to work together to help all students become strong readers and spread a love of reading and learning.

Projects could include but are not limited to:

  • Large or small scale book and literacy community fairs with food pantry, social service organizations, PTA, etc…
  • Book distributions can be accommodated as large as 40,000 or as small a few hundred books.
  • Parent/student book clubs
  • Back-to-school events or holiday celebrations
  • Summer reading programs 
  • Family potluck and book distributions to celebrate cultural events such as Juneteenth, Dia De Los Muertos, etc…

Please be aware that we have a limited budget and not every request will be awarded or awarded in full.  Requests that include funding from other sources, such as central labor councils, school district, local businesses or foundations , etc…is welcomed and encouraged. 

Reading Opens the World funding requests will be awarded to purchase books to distribute will be award in the form of First Book gift certificates which can be redeemed on  Requests must be made for programs or initiative for Title I or Title I eligible schools or programs or serving 70% or more low-come families or communities.  You must be registered with First Book ( to use the gift certificates – registration is free and you are under no obligation to order additional books.  More than 165,000 AFT members who work in Title I schools are registered with First Book for ongoing access to high-quality, low-cost books, grant opportunities and in some cases free books and literacy resources.


Please fill out the information below to tell us how you would like to participate in the AFT's Reading Opens the World campaign.

Union President's contact information:

Reading Opens the World project Contact person/phone number/email:

Webinar Series

Sign up for one of our for-credit webinars grounded in the science of reading and focused on practical strategies to employ to help all students become strong readers. More sessions will be added, and all will be available to view on-demand after they run live. Learn more here.

For questions or more information, contact Leslie Getzinger at