NewsPinellas County


To close achievement gap, statewide program will deliver free books to millions of students

Posted at 5:37 PM, Dec 20, 2021
and last updated 2021-12-21 09:25:38-05

PINELLAS COUNTY, Fla. — A statewide program is getting books into the hands of millions of children.

Brothers Bryce and Jefferey McMahan can’t wait to begin exploring new worlds in the pages of the free books they received Monday.

It’s all part of the New Worlds Reading program that ships free books to more than half a million students in Florida, who are not reading on grade level.


“The fact that someone thought it was important enough to make sure kids have books is great. Especially at this age, they’re really starting to get into books and the more they can read and learn the more you broaden their mind,” said Racheal McMahan.

The program was created by Florida House Speaker Chris Sprowls to help close the achievement gap in reading.


Books will be mailed to students in grades K-5 once a month. They’ll be available in English, Spanish and Haitian Creole.

“Eighty-eight percent of people in Florida who don’t graduate from high school were struggling readers in K-5. If we can get kids reading on grade level, we expand their opportunities in the world. We give them a love for learning,” Chris Sprowls said.

The program also features literacy resources and activities for families to engage with books alongside their children to help build confidence, strengthen language interactions, and literacy skills.

To participate in the program, parents or caregivers of eligible students should visit New Worlds Reading.

Parents who have questions about eligibility for the program should contact their child's teacher.