Literacy program donates millionth book to HISD students

Research shows that children who have books at home are more likely to be successful in school and maintain grade-level reading comprehension. However, according to the National Literacy Trust, one in five children do not own any books of their own. This fact was the impetus for the creation of My Home Library, an initiative of the Barbara Bush Foundation for Literacy that strives to give children from low-income families tools to read at home and thrive in the classroom.

My Home Library teamed up with HISD in 2017 and, with help from literacy partners Scholastic and First Book, they began providing six free books to young readers in Title 1 schools—their first stop being HISD’s Browning Elementary School. In the nearly seven years since then, My Home Library has reached a momentous milestone. On Friday, Dec. 8, they returned to Browning to celebrate with the school that started it all.

This year alone, My Home Library will have distributed home libraries to 34,000 students, totaling more than 200,000 books.

“It’s really important that the kids know that having their own home library is more than possible, and we love to provide that opportunity and that love of reading,” said Brianne Matthias, Outreach and Engagement Manager for My Home Library. “We’ve officially passed out a million books, which I think drives home our mission to provide literacy support around Houston.”

To honor the distribution of their millionth book, the Barbara Bush Foundation came with their partners and members of the Houston community. Together, they helped Browning third-graders select from dozens of available books, one of which counted as the one millionth book donated to a Houston student’s home library in just seven short years. As students picked out their new books, they were visited by some of their favorite Scholastic characters, Clifford the Big Red Dog and Dog Man, as well as their own mascot, the Browning Roadrunner.

“It’s an honor, and I’m very humbled to not only witness this event, but to be a part of this milestone,” said Principal Annie Marie Lara. “Our students are very excited. We’ve been trying to get more books in homes because of Covid, and the Barbara Bush Foundation has been so generous and supportive in ensuring that our students will always have books at home.”

To learn more about My Home Library or to become a supporter with a tax-deductible donation, visit their website