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California Department of Education
News Release
California Department of Education
News Release
Release: #21-76
October 4, 2021
Contact: Communications
Phone: 916-319-0818

State Superintendent Tony Thurmond Announces Effort to Provide One Million Books as Part of Statewide Literacy Campaign

SACRAMENTO—State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tony Thurmond today announced a statewide effort to secure donations with the goal of providing one million books for students and their families. This book drive happens in conjunction with a statewide literacy campaign launched last month that includes a task force working toward the goal of helping all California students reach the goal of literacy by third grade, by the year 2026. Superintendent Thurmond and the California Department of Education (CDE) are working closely with First 5 California and are seeking further partnerships to reach the goal of providing one million books to students and families.

“Our literacy effort is multifaceted, with legislation that will be introduced in 2022 for providing resources and advancing literacy and biliteracy goals through professional learning and family engagement—as well as this effort of to get a million books into the hands of California students and their families,” Thurmond said. “Students who can’t read by the third grade are at greater risk to drop out and end up in the criminal justice system, so this effort is more than just reaching a literacy milestone—it’s also about equity, justice, and putting students on a path that can create a lifetime of success.”

Cash donations are welcome, and the CDE and First 5 California are seeking partners that can collect and distribute in-kind donations of books. Please send checks to First 5 California, 2389 Gateway Oaks Drive, Suite 260, Sacramento, CA 95833. Checks can be made out to “California Children and Families Commission” with a memo line that says “books.”

Superintendent Thurmond has also been visiting schools around the state to promote literacy and biliteracy. Last week, he joined Pasadena Unified School District officials and school and community leaders to tour a sixth-grade dual language class and a biliteracy class for newcomers at Blair High School in Pasadena. In honor of Hispanic Heritage Month, he donated a book on United States Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor.

Those interested in participating in the literacy effort, helping with logistics (including collection and distribution of books), and wishing to learn more should email Additional details about the statewide book drive and an online portal for donations are forthcoming.

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Tony Thurmond — State Superintendent of Public Instruction
Communications Division, Room 5602, 916-319-0818, Fax 916-319-0100

Last Reviewed: Tuesday, April 16, 2024
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