Read a book. Give a book.

Combining the joy of reading with the power of helping others. That is the tagline for a wonderful literacy program called We Give Books. It was created under the auspices of Penguin Books and the Pearson Foundation.

As it says on their web site:

We Give Books is a new digital initiative that enables anyone with access to the Internet to put books in the hands of children who don’t have them, simply by reading online.

Books available online are for readers (and to-be readers) under 10 years of age. They or their caregiver reads a book, and in turn a book is donated a literacy charity of their choice. We Give Books, thus, promotes reading to youngsters while teaching them about helping others. It’s a win-win.

This concept is not new. Freerice, for example, asks visitors to its site to answer questions on a range of topics from vocabulary to math to the humanities. There’s even an SAT prep section! Each correct answer generates a donation of 10 grains of rice through the World Hunger Programme.

We Give Books is good social innovation: it is authentic to the business that the companies are in (publishing), and it is transparent (1,032,485 books have been read to date). Moreover, it doesn’t connect the charity to a consumer purchase.

Support this group…and go read a book!

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