My Own Book’s Impact

During the 2013-14 school year, thanks to a generous grant from the Helmsley Charitable Trust, My Own Book retained a leading educational consulting firm, The TCC Group, to design and execute a formal evaluation of our program. TCC conducted surveys of students, teachers and parents in ten participating schools; the results confirmed that My Own Book participants became more avid and enthusiastic independent readers, with the most dramatic improvement shown among those who were, at the outset, least interested in reading. Specifically:

 * More than 90% of teachers observed that students “improved a lot” or “improved somewhat” in enthusiasm for reading, time spent reading, number of pages read each day, and in reading comprehension;
 * Among students who self-identified as not being independent readers, nearly two-thirds reported that they were reading on their own after participation in the program;
 * More than half of the students who reported, before My Own Book, that reading was not enjoyable, responded afterwards that reading “makes me happy”; and
 * More than 90% of parents stated that after their third-grader’s completion of the program, their other children showed more enthusiasm for reading.


Happy third grade students using the My Own Book program at the bookstore

In addition to survey data, we have, over many years, solicited feedback from My Own Book participants. Please take some time to listen to the voices of the children, teachers and parents, in the sample of comments, below.

From the Teachers

“The students bring their books to rainy day recess and share with each other. They want to read their books rather than play games.”

“They can’t wait to open their new books and read. They’ve been talking with each other about their choices… They’ve been taking their books down to lunch with them. They talk about how they’ve been reading them at home.”

“I have been very lucky to have the opportunity to bring my students to for the past 3 years. This is a fabulous experience for our children. For many of them, it is the first time they’ve ever been to a bookstore. I am very thankful for this program.”

“This program has been a wonderful opportunity for the students. It made them excited to own and read books. Several students returned to the book store with their parents to purchase other books in a series.”

From the Students

“I love Barnes and Noble. It’s like a book wonderland.”

“You do not know how much I thank you and you do not know how much I love these books.”

“I like Barnes and Noble because I got to pick my own books and keep them forever and ever.”

“I think it was the best trip I have ever gone to because we got to pick a lot of books.”

From 4th and 5th graders looking back

“Books that I have teach people the lessons of life. And the kids that have home libraries can now pass on the books to smaller children.”

“Having my own books made me feel very smart. It influences me to read more and made me learn a lot more than I already knew.”

“I feel that Mr. Freeman is an amazing man. He has helped so many kids. I know because I was one of them. Kids feel so greatful (sic). Doesn’t it feel great when you make a person feel so happy?”

“I figured out that I had a passion that wasn’t really seen by anyone, not even me. I saw that reading gives me a chance to see what might not even be there. I saw the power reading had. It can help me think beyond the box. That helps my imagination grow. This all happened because of My Own Book. I wanted to thank you because without this program, I wouldn’t know just how exciting a book can be. I am proud that I got to see the secret behind books and how exhilarating it is.”

From the Parents

“He bought books from a series and he wants to go back and buy the other books! I have been fighting with him about reading since he was four years old. The trip with the school somewhat solved my problem. Thank you!”

“I had to buy him a Barnes and Noble gift card…..He explained to us all about his trip until he couldn’t catch his breath.”

“My child was very excited about the trip to the bookstore. He came home very happy with many new, interesting books which he reread with his little sister.”

“I noticed that after the trip to Barnes and Noble, she is very interested in reading books. She is very happy to arrange the books nicely, reading and understanding the stories. I saw an improvement in her English. Earlier she was interested to watch TV. Now she is happy to read books.”