MSU Extension partners with the Molina Foundation to give away 30,000 books

posted on July 13, 2015 2:36pm

CONTACT: Sean Corp, .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address), 517-884-7083

EAST LANSING, Mich. – With a goal of improving childhood literacy in the Great Lakes state, Michigan State University (MSU) Extension has partnered with the Molina Foundation to give away 30,000 children’s books. The books, valued at more than $220,000, will be distributed to Michigan youth through MSU Extension or MSU Extension partner programs this summer as a way to combat “the summer slide.”

The summer slide is the name given to the learning loss that studies have shown children experience when they do not engage in educational activities during the summer. This loss  disproportionately affects low-income students, who often lose more than two months of reading achievement. A study led by the Harvard Graduate School of Education found that children who read just a few books over the summer could help prevent a decline in their reading scores.

“Stopping the summer reading slide for our children is a place where we – as a community – can have a tremendous impact,” says Martha Bernadett, president and founder of the Molina Foundation. “Reading just five or six books this summer can help keep a child on track. We are so happy to partner with our network of Extension programs in Michigan to help children retain their reading proficiency and ensure their success in the future.”

In addition to receiving books, children and their families will also be given suggestions for literacy-related learning activities and educational information for parents and caregivers. These resources help expand the educational reach of the books themselves, enhancing their long-term impact and helping to create a lifelong love of reading.

“We’re thrilled to be able to partner with the Molina Foundation again this year to get books into the hands of underserved youth and enhance childhood literacy levels in our state,” said Carrie Shrier, MSU Extension early childhood educator. “For many children, these publications become the first books they’ve ever received to keep as their very own, and they are so excited to have these gifts to enjoy at home whenever they please.”

This innovative partnership between the Molina Foundation and MSU Extension began in 2011, and nearly 280,000 books have been distributed to date to Michigan youth ages birth to 18. In 2014 alone, more than 27,000 youth in 67 Michigan counties received more than 30,000 books.

Books have already been distributed to county MSU Extension offices and are available in a variety of age groups and reading levels. Programs receiving books include 4-H, SNAP- Ed, early childhood education and various state events. Those with questions about local book distribution plans should contact their county Extension office. For questions about the Molina Foundation partnership or early literacy enhancements, contact one of the state team coordinators—Carrie Shrier, .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address), or Jodi Schulz, .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).

The Molina Foundation ( is a national nonprofit organization focused on reducing disparities in access to education and health. Since its inception in 2004, the  foundation has worked with more than 1,000 nonprofit organizations and schools toward this end, donating more than 3 million books and hosting workshops and programs for educators and families. The Molina Foundation works hand-in-hand with community-based organizations and schools in vulnerable communities to achieve its mission.

To learn more about MSU Extension, early childhood development and the 4-H Youth Development program, visit


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