United Methodists are being challenged to donate 35,588 books to build the personal libraries of children in Arkansas. Why? There are 35,588 third graders in Arkansas. Third grade is when students move from learning to read to reading to learn. Only 1/3 of Arkansas third graders were reading proficiently in 2019. Let’s work to change that statistic!

Churches can begin by collecting new and gently used books from their congregations, Sunday School classes, youth groups, or children’s ministries. Make sure to take pictures of your congregation in action. Tag us on social media telling us the number of books to add to our count and using the hashtag #givingbooksforlove. Make sure to partner with a teacher, a local school, a little free library, or a feeding ministry backpack program to distribute the books collected.

If together we are Giving Books for Love, we will help to give a love for books to children in our communities. Let’s make a lasting impact together!

Wondering how to get books into children’s hands so they can build their home libraries? Donate to or consider offering:

  • Local feeding ministries that distribute meals or food to children.
  • Little free libraries in your community
  • Local homeless shelter for families
  • Local schools, libraries, day cares and tutoring programs such as Boys & Girls Clubs
  • Give financially to your local Imagination Library affiliate

Partner with any of the above to make sure books get distributed to take home!

Consider monthly themes for your collections! February is Black History Month, March is Dr. Seuss Month, and April is National Poetry Month. Find related reading lists and more ideas here.

Why is access to books important?


  • Help prevent the “summer slide”
  • Improves reading performance
  • Is instrumental in helping them learn the basics of reading
  • Prompts them to read more frequently and for greater amounts of time
  • Improves their attitudes toward reading and learning

For the complete article, click here. For statistics in your county about reading proficiency at 3rd grade, click here.