First Book's Impact

“First Book is focused on impact: we leverage the work of heroic teachers, give volunteers the tools they need, and help raise reading scores. Recently, a principal reported that First Book allowed her teachers and volunteers to elevate quality, create a culture or reading, and increase Academic Performance Index scores by 107 points. This is the change we are delivering.” Kyle Zimmer, President, First Book

Putting new books in the hands of the children who need them most

Forty-two percent of children in the United States — more than 30 million — live in low-income households. Most of these children have no age-appropriate books at home, and the classrooms and programs they attend are woefully under-resourced. Approximately two-thirds of these schools and programs cannot afford to buy books at retail prices.

That’s where we come in

First Book's impact on kids in needA recognized leader in social enterprise, First Book has pioneered groundbreaking channels to provide new books and educational resources at deeply reduced prices — and for free — to schools and programs serving children in need.

We provide teachers and program administrators with greater purchasing power and access to high-quality books that otherwise would not be available to them. Through First Book, educators can create enriched learning experiences for their students, and the children can enjoy an ongoing supply of wonderful new books.

First Book works

At First Book, we're focused on results, both for the children and the programs we serve.

Outcomes for Children
A 14-month longitudinal study of 2,564 students found that First Book:

  • Improves interest in reading. Students demonstrating a 'high interest' in reading nearly tripled after receiving books from First Book.
  • Increases children's desire to learn. 69% of program administrators found books from First Book were "very important" in children’s decisions to read more and improve their reading skills.
  • Increases reading at home. More than 70% of children reported increased home literacy activities after receiving books from First Book.

Outcomes for Schools and Programs
A survey of 1,800 members of the First Book network of schools and programs found that First Book:

  • Increases educational opportunities. 99.1% said new books from First Book would allow them to increase educational opportunities or activities, including parent involvement.
  • Increases volunteer engagement. 96.5% of those using volunteers said their current volunteers would be more engaged if given the opportunity to distribute First Book resources.

Expanding to meet a growing need

First Book is growing rapidly and has been highlighted as one of the most innovative organizations in the social sector. First Book is:

  • First Book's impact on kids in need
    Expanding the network of schools and programs that we serve. Over 135,000 classrooms and local nonprofits have signed up with First Book, with new programs joining every day.
  • Expanding the resources we offer. In addition to books for young readers, First Book provides high-quality books on college preparation; healthy eating and exercise; anti-bullying; science, technology, engineering and math (STEM); diversity, and many other topics, as well as bilingual titles and resources.
  • A recognized leader in the field. First Book has been highlighted in case studies and lectures at top MBA programs, including Wharton, Stanford, Yale, and Columbia. First Book’s model and impact have also been featured at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland.
  • Efficient and frugal. 97% of First Book's revenue goes directly to providing new books to kids in need.

Data that shows First Book’s impact is important to us, but just as important are the stories we hear every day from the schools and programs in our network, telling us how these books have changed lives.