Select Page


Inspiring kids’ passion for reading


Every child deserves a chance to fall in love with reading.

The reality is that students from low-income families have fewer books – in low-income areas, there is just 1 book for every 300 children. These children are less likely to read proficiently by third grade, a key predictor of future academic success.

Locally, more than 5,500 third grade students were not reading at grade level during the 2016-17 academic year. At United Way of the Midlands, we understand how important it is to put books in these students’ hands. To ensure more children are on track to succeed in school and life, we partnered with Book Trust to bring books to nearly 2,200 K-3rd graders in ten Title 1 schools across six school districts.


Book Trust is a successful, nation-wide literacy program. Through its partnership with Book Trust, UWM increases access to reading materials, empowers teachers to create a classroom culture of literacy and inspires students to read.

The Book Trust program focuses on three core components to build reading engagement and increase student reading achievement:

Empowering Choice: Choice is at the heart of Book Trust’s approach to supporting student literacy efforts. With a stipend of $7 a month, students scour the Scholastic Reading Club flier to choose books based on their personal interests. This leads to increased motivation and more focused interest in reading.

Building a Culture of Literacy: Classroom-wide celebrations mark the arrival of book orders each month, reinforcing the value of reading. Selecting and receiving books each month as a classroom cultivates book sharing among students and encourages the development of active listening skills, new vocabulary and respect for others.

Engaging Families: Students take their books home each month to read to and with family members. By the end of the school year, students build a home library of 20-30 books and families increase their engagement in reading.


Bellevue Public Schools

  •  Birchcrest Elementary

Council Bluffs Community Schools

  •  Bloomer Elementary
  •  Edison Elementary

Millard Public Schools

  •  Holling Heights Elementary

Omaha Public Schools

  •  Druid Hill Elementary
  •  Howard Kennedy Elementary
  •  Jackson Elementary
  •  Wakonda Elementary

Ralston Public Schools

  • Mockingbird Elementary

Westside Public Schools

  •  Westgate Elementary

93, 451 books were distributed during the 2016-17 and 2017-18 academic years.


Help us build the love of reading! Join a classroom for a book box delivery day, serve as a guest reader for a classroom or be a “Reading Buddy” to a child at one of the ten Book Trust schools. United Way of the Midlands makes it easy to match volunteers with opportunities that accommodate busy schedules. Contact the director of Volunteer Engagement at volunteer@uwmidlands.org for more information.

United Way of the Midlands’ Emerging Leaders affinity group donates their time, talent and financial support to Book Trust. To learn more about the Emerging Leaders, please contact emergingleaders@uwmidlands.org.

You can help our community’s students succeed in school and life! Donate to the Campaign for Grade-Level Reading through United Way of the Midlands today. Your gift will help us positively impact hundreds of kids in our community. Visit www.unitedwaymidlands.org/give.

“Book Trust has given us the tools to advance the importance of literacy, not only in our classrooms, but also in the homes. Families are sharing stories of the change students are making at home with their reading.”

–  Barbara Williams, Book Trust Manager and Family Liason at Wakonda Elementary School

United Way of the Midlands   |   2201 Farnam Street   |   Omaha, NE 68102   |   402-342-8232

Social Responsibility & Privacy Policy   |   Contact Us   |   211 Helpline   |   Donate   |   Volunteer

Copyright 2021 - All Rights Reserved