Book Trust {2019 Impact}

Book Trust’s mission is engaging every child in book choice and ownership, cultivating literacy-rich communities. In Hawaii, 76% of fourth graders attending a Title 1 school scored below proficient reading levels (Kids Count Data Center, 2017). This is critically important because 75% of children who aren’t proficient readers by the end of third grade are poor readers in high school and are four times less likely to graduate (Sparks, 2011). Book Trust combats this circumstance by inspiring a passion for reading in the classroom and at home. We empower kids to choose what they want read while increasing their access to books. We also support teachers and families with resources to improve reading proficiency.  During the 2018‐2019 school year, Book Trust served 5,046 students in Hawaii, from pre-k through sixth grade, across 14 Title 1 elementary schools on 5 Hawaiian Islands. In 2019/2020 we will continue serving both new and returning students at these schools.


Book Trust serves elementary school students in Hawaii that attend Title 1 schools, where there are the highest percentages of children living in poverty. Book Trust addresses two literacy barriers that children from low-income homes commonly face: access and motivation. Access to books is the single greatest barrier to reading: research demonstrates that in low-income communities in the United States, there is just one book for every 300 children, compared to middle-income families who, on average, have 13 books for every child. This disparity is a significant factor in the reading gap between children from low-income and middle-income families. Book Trust students receive one to three books every month of the school year. Research also indicates that when children are empowered to choose their books, they are more motivated to read.  Book Trust engages children in choice, making it a unique and powerful program. In the 2018‐2019 school year, Book Trust provided choice and access at the following Title 1 schools:


Lanai Elementary

Grades Served: K,1,2,3

# of students: 169


Kualapuu Elementary

Grades Served: PK,K,1,2,3,4,5,6

# of students: 354


Maunaloa Elementary

Grades Served: K,1,2,3,4,5,6

# of students: 42


Haiku Elementary

Grades Served: K, 1,2

# of students: 228


Hana Elementary

Grades Served: PK,K,1,2,3,4,5

# of students: 176


Kahului Elementary

Grades Served: K,1,2,3,4,5

# of students: 1000


Lihikai Elementary

Grades Served: K,1,2,3

# of students: 576


Makawao Elementary

Grades Served: K,1,2,3,4,5

# of students: 575


Waihee Elementary

Grades Served: K,1,2,3

# of students: 475


Wailuku Elementary

Grades Served: PK,K,1,2,3

# of students: 475


Honaunau Elementary

Grades Served: K, 1,2

# of students: 70


Nanaikapono Elementary

Grades Served: K,1,2,3

# of students: 450


Palolo Elementary

Grades Served: PK, K,1,2,3

# of students: 198


Waianae Elementary

Grades Served: PK,K,1,2,3

# of students: 258

According to the 2017 National Assessment of Educational Progress results, known as “The Nation’s Report Card,” Hawaii’s eighth-grade math and reading scores and fourth-grade reading scores were “significantly lower” than the U.S. average. Hawaii students attending Title 1 schools face numerous literacy challenges including book access (no bookstores in their communities, libraries that are not open on weekends), lack of financial resources due to the state’s high cost of living, and a growing population of ELL (English Language Learner) students. According to a study by the Hawaii Appleseed Center for Law and Economic Justice, Hawaii has the highest cost of living but the lowest wages in the country when adjusted for the amount of money it takes for a family to get by. In addition, 52% of public school students in Hawaii are considered economically disadvantaged.

Book Trust empowers low-income students to choose, own and love their own books. While book access is critical, what makes Book Trust stand out is the program's focus on interest-based choice as a motivator to increase the amount of time a student spends reading. Book Trust’s program provides the means for each student to choose 1-3 books each month, building home libraries of up to 25 books per school year. Teachers are trained in helping children develop skills to make choices from Scholastic Book Club’s catalogs and in celebrating the books and independent reading. There is a great body of evidence and scholarship to support Book Trust’s practices and training: specifically, that student choice in book selections promotes agency, drives motivation to read, and fosters a culture of literacy in the classroom, leading to an increase in the number of children reading on grade level.

Choice has been identified as a powerful force that allows students to take ownership and responsibility for their learning (Rettig & Hendricks, 2000). Studies indicate that motivation increases when students have opportunities to make choices about what they learn and when they believe they have some autonomy or control over their own learning (Jang, Reeve, & Deci, 2010; Skinner & Belmont, 1993). Guthrie et al. (2007) explored fourth grade students’ motivation and reading comprehension growth and reported that autonomy was supported when students selected their own books, as compared with having books chosen for them by teachers or other adults. In addition, autonomy was supported when students acquired strategies for choosing books they could read and for finding interesting books and acquired books for personal ownership. It appears that students who are allowed to choose their own reading materials are more motivated to read, expend more effort, and gain better understanding of the text (Gambrell, 1996; Guthrie et al., 2007; Schiefele, 1991; Spaulding, 1992). Key components of Book Trust are:

Consistency – Students in the program order 1-3 books every month of the school year.

Choice – Students choose their own books based on their interests.

Celebration – We coach teachers how to celebrate the arrival of the books, creating a culture of literacy and conversation around what kids are reading. 

Independent Reading – We share best practices in supported independent reading for teachers, allowing students to practice those skills with books they’ve chosen themselves. Research shows that reading is a practiced skill, and Book Trust’s program creates the space for teachers to help their students master it before they take their beloved new books home. 

Family Engagement – Every book a child receives from Book Trust goes into the home, creating a library that can be shared and loved by other family members.

Book Trust utilizes a combination of evidence-informed practices, research, teacher feedback and experience to evaluate and continually make improvements.

Through access and choice, Book Trust aims to increase student motivation to read, increase student’s perception of themselves as readers, increase the amount of time students spend reading and improve literacy outcomes. We also aim to have continued positive feedback from all stakeholders and the continued desire to expand the program throughout the state.

These results are important because, according to Kids Count, “Of the fourth-graders who took the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) reading test in 2009, fully 83% of children from low-income families— and 85% of low-income students who attend high-poverty schools—failed to reach the “proficient” level. Low-income fourth graders who cannot meet NAEP’s proficient level in reading today are all too likely to become our nation’s lowest-income, least- skilled, least-productive, and most costly citizens tomorrow. Simply put, without a dramatic reversal of the status quo, we are cementing educational failure and poverty into the next generation.”

Book Trust works in partnership to gather, track and evaluate qualitative and quantitative data for program improvement and to measure impact.  Indicators include: progress monitoring tools to track student achievement overtime; teacher surveys; and program quality implementation through monitoring monthly book orders, choice and book selection at the student level.

Because of Book Trust, during the 2018‐2019 school year, 5,046 students in Hawaii, from pre-kindergarten through sixth grade, across 14 Title 1 elementary schools on five Hawaiian Islands were empowered to choose and own 44,700 books collectively and build personal libraries of up to 25 books per student. Additionally, teachers each earned 17,000 Scholastic bonus points that they could use for classroom resources and supplies.  Book Trust also provided teachers with training and resources that support best practices in order to help create a strong culture of literacy in the classroom and to help teachers educate parents, so that a culture of literacy extends into the student’s home.

As of May 27, 2019, the 2018/2019 school year is still underway and not all of our annual survey results have been received. Final results won’t be available until June 2019. However, preliminary responses from the Hawai‘i teachers indicate that on average, 29% of Book Trust students were reading at grade level in the fall, while 54.2% were reading at grade level by the end of the school year.  Further, when asked about the Book Trust program, 57.6 % of teachers strongly agreed with the statement, “The time I invest in Book Trust is worth the impact on my classroom and students” and 42.5% agreed with that statement.  What’s more, 60% of teachers strongly agreed with the statement “I consider Book Trust and integral part of my classroom and students’ outlook on literacy,” with 37.5% agreeing and 2% disagreeing with the statement.

Chef Nabavi