Original Six Foundation to distribute over 30,000 books to kindergarten students in rural and underserved communities

May 9, 2023

There’s no greater gift to a child than teaching him or her to read. There’s also no more important academic skill. That’s why the Original Six Foundation’s My First Library program is supporting children whose families often do not have the resources to properly nurture a proficiency in and love of reading.

Through the O6 My First Library program, over 3,000 South Carolina kindergarten students are invited to choose ten high-quality, grade-level summer reading books at end-of-the-year book fairs held throughout the state during the month of May. This year, the Original Six team will bring the My First Library program to 38 schools and distribute over 30,000 books setting a program record.

Research shows that students who are not reading at level by fourth grade are four times less likely to graduate from high school on time. According to 2019 National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) scores, only 35 percent of fourth graders in the US and only 21 percent of financially disadvantaged students are reading at grade level.

“A child’s educational opportunities and love of learning should not be limited by the zip code in which they live,” said Nikki Haley, Founder and Chair of the Original Six Foundation. “I want these young students to think big and dream big,” Haley said. “The My First Library program empowers them with the confidence and the tools they need to succeed.”

My First Library book fairs will be held at schools in 12 counties that have been classified as high poverty areas by the South Carolina Department of Education including schools in Allendale, Bamberg, Barnwell, Colleton, Florence, Kershaw, Marion, Richland, and Union counties.

Over 300 of the books that students will choose from were collected through a O6 My First Library book drive held in March by the South Carolina Department of Motor Vehicles (SCDMV).

“The SCDMV staff is amazing,” said Original Six Foundation executive director Kara Gormley Meador. In addition to dropping off books at SCDMV locations statewide, people were able to order books requested by South Carolina teachers through a QR code displayed at SCDMV branches. “From the children’s book Harry the Dirty Dog to Jabari Jumps, many of the people who donated books to our students had personal connections to the books they chose,” Gormley Meador said.

As an incentive for students to read over the summer, Bojangles is offering a $5.00 gift card to O6 My First Library students who return to school with a log that charts the books they read over the summer.


About The 06 Foundation

Founded by Ambassador Nikki Haley during her tenure as Governor, the O6 Foundation believes children across South Carolina deserve a quality education regardless of where they are born and raised. The O6 Foundation works to improve education by identifying gaps and filling them through hands-on engagement and resources. To learn more please visit: www.originalsixfoundation.org.