Reading Opens the World

Reading is a foundational skill necessary for virtually everything we do. It opens possibilities for all children to succeed—to learn and grow, to explore and imagine, to investigate and verify, and to lead fulfilling lives. Reading well instills confidence and helps reduce inequities. The disruptions due to the pandemic make focusing on literacy even more important, to assist our students not just to catch up but to thrive.

We have had more than 250 events in 30 states and Puerto Rico at schools, community centers, faith-based organizations and union halls, with many more planned to continue to spread the joy of reading to students, families, educators and school staff in communities across the country in 2023.

1,500,000 books distributed
of our 2,000,000 book goal!

The American Federation of Teachers' Reading Opens the World initiative focuses on:

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

Reading Opens the World!


AFT's Reading Opens the World event with the El Rancho Federation of Teachers in Pico Rivera, CA was a huge success because it brought together everyone in the community to promote reading. Thousands of people came out to receive 40,000 free books and celebrated AFT's 1 million book distribution milestone.
In the shadow of the Florida State Capitol, FEA, NEA, and AFT partnered to give out 25,000 books (many which have been banned in classrooms) to children, familes, and educators.
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AFT President Randi Weingarten joined ParentsTogether Executive Director Ailen Arreaza and FL NAACP Conference President Adora Nweze at the NAACP Freedom Library Town Hall in where the AFT gave away 10,000 diverse books.
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AFT Voices

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“I don’t know what happened to me, but I hated reading before. And this year, the seventh grade teacher had all these books out and I just started reading.” - Mason, seventh grade

#ReadingOpensTheWorld @aftmichigan

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Thanks for joining us in Macomb, Shantanique! Excited to see the library you and your boys build.

#ReadingOpensTheWorld @aftmichigan

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Lexington, KY teacher Tracy Bollinger who picked up three sets of classroom books for her high school sociology students


Thank you Tracy! And hope your students love their new books! #ReadingOpensTheWorld @AFTunion @nema @120Strong

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