About Melaney Smith
Books for Keeps began with Melaney Smith’s effort to help a 2nd grader who loved to read, but had no books at home. When Melaney learned that many children in her Athens, Georgia community face the same challenge–and that reading is a major contributor to the educational achievement gap–her first thought was: “Why doesn’t somebody do something about this?” Her second thought was: “I am somebody. I can do something.” She created a research-based program that aimed to solve the achievement gap by allowing children to self-select and keep 12 high-interest books at the end of each school year. Books for Keeps sets up mock book stores in each target school’s media center, letting children come in class by class to browse for the books they most want to read. The organization currently distributes 45,000 books each year, just in time for summer break, and is in the process of expanding to schools in Atlanta and rural Georgia.
About Books for Keeps
Books for Keeps works to improve children’s reading achievement by addressing barriers related to the accessibility and appeal of reading material. The organization gives books to children whose reading opportunities outside of school might be otherwise limited due to geography, income, or other factors.