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Every student in Buffalo schools gets a free book, thanks to Buffalo Teachers Federation

For the fourth year in a row, the Buffalo Teachers Federation has distributed 35,000 new books to all Buffalo Public Schools students.

The books, which are age and grade-level appropriate, were provided free of charge - except 70 cents for shipping and handling - by First Book, which supplies quality reading materials for low-income families, Title 1 schools or military families.

The books were distributed by the teachers union. The union has given away a total of 140,000 books to Buffalo schoolchildren over four years.

In this cycle, all of the books that went to students were from Disney Publishing Worldwide, one of the main publishers to work with First Book.

Teachers at each building selected books for each of their students. One teacher at each school – with the help of other teachers – volunteered to collect the list of titles suggested by teachers, complete the requests online and arrange the book distribution at the school.

“Studies have shown that having books in a home impacts greatly on a student’s ability and desire to read,” said BTF President Philip Rumore, who first heard of the First Book program while attending an American Federation of Teachers meeting. AFT is one of BTF’s national affiliates.

“When I was a child, we had a very old set of ‘The Book of Knowledge’ that I would open to explore science and the world around me,” Rumore added. “To this day, I remember that ancient set of books and the wonders it unfolded. We want each of our students to share that wonder by having their own book.”