Everybody Reads begins March 13 with a goal of 300,000 books read in three weeks

Citywide effort through school and public libraries promotes reading for all ages and raises money for REACH Literacy.

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Students display their copies of "It's Great to be Kind," distributed through the Promising Futures Fund.
Contributed / Promising Futures Fund

SIOUX FALLS — The second-annual Everybody Reads campaign — a partnership between the Sioux Falls School District, the city’s public library system and the Promising Futures Fund — will run March 13-31 with a goal of reading 300,000 books.

The theme for this year’s initiative is “Reach for the Stars,” said Ann Smith, who oversees the library media programs for the school district.

“Reading unlocks the potential for us to achieve our loftiest dreams,” Smith told the Sioux Falls School Board on Monday, Feb. 27. “Our goal is to visualize how much, all of us, read throughout this three-week period.”

The effort also raises money for REACH Literacy, a nonprofit organization that builds reading skills for youth and adults.

The campaign will donate $400 to REACH when it hits 100,000 books, an additional $500 at 200,000 books and $600 if the final goal is reached, for a total of $1,500.


Completed books will be tabulated at each of the district’s school libraries, community readers will keep track at the Siouxland Public Libraries and through the Everybody Reads website .

The Promising Futures Fund supports low-income students in 19 schools with high rates of poverty in the district. As part of the nonprofit group’s efforts, about 56,000 books are given to students in 1st through 3rd grades every month during the school year. Another 3,000 students receive five books through a summer reading program.

As part of Everybody Reads, Promising Futures is distributing 3,000 special hardcover books to low-income kids.

Steve Hildebrand founded Promising Futures in 2019. Since then he’s learned from the teachers and principals in the schools how vital reading is for kids, particularly those growing up in poverty.

“A lot of these kids coming to kindergarten and first grade are starting their schooling having never picked up a book before,” he said during the board meeting on Monday. “When you’re not getting a chance to do some reading yourself, when you’re not learning the alphabet, when you’re not being exposed to opportunities to hear people read and verbalize, you’re starting way behind. How sad is that? That’s not fair to that kid.”

Patrick Lalley is the engagement editor and reporter for Sioux Falls Live. Reach him at
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