Low income students will access for free a large number of children’s titles, made available by several publishing houses in a $250 million initiative.
President Barack Obama announced Thursday that a number of major book publishers have promised $250 million in donations to aid low-income kids get access to electronic versions of approximately 10,000 of the most famous titles in children’s literature. The US president is also looking for backing from local governments and schools in order to ensure that each student has a library card.
“We’re going to provide millions of e-books online so that they’re available for young people who maybe don’t have as many books at home or don’t always have access to a full stock of reading materials,” said Obama.
The president chose a public library from one of Washington’s poorest neighborhoods, Anacostia to announce his plans to provide educational support to low-income students. The White House is considering the initiative as a much needed measure to offer more educational chances for kids from low-income families. On the other hand, some critics have said that e-readers and other electronic gadgets which are needed for reading e-books could not be available for all students.
E-readers are present in nearly half of American homes, according to a research study by Pew Research and published last year. However, in lower income households, these objects are much less prominent. According to the research data, only 14 percent of households with earnings of under $30,000 per year have an e-reader.
E-books can be read on other devices, such as personal computers or tablets. A US Census Bureau research of computer and Internet use revealed that only 62 percent of households with incomes under $25,000 had a computer, compared to 88 percent of households in the entire country.
White House officials have announced that plans are being made to ensure that children can access both the necessary technology and the e-books. Cecilia Muñoz, director of the Domestic Policy Council, said that computers and smartphones are prevalent in both schools and homes. She also added that Apple Inc. will donate $100 million in laptops, iPads, and software to school which are underprivileged, a technology that would make the use of e-books much easier.
“It’s very different than for our generation. More and more, you’re going to be seeing kids using devices, and what we’re doing is making sure that there’s more books available on those device,” Ms. Munoz explained.
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