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The Florida Senate

CS/CS/HB 3 — Home Book Delivery for Elementary Students

by Education and Employment Committee; PreK-12 Appropriations Subcommittee; and Rep. Trabulsy and others

This summary is provided for information only and does not represent the opinion of any Senator, Senate Officer, or Senate Office.

Prepared by: Education Committee (ED)

The bill establishes the New Worlds Reading Initiative to improve literacy skills and instill a love of reading by providing high-quality free books to students in kindergarten through grade 5 who are reading below grade level. The bill provides for tax credit contributions to the initiative. Specifically, the bill requires:

  • The Department of Education (DOE) to:
  • Designate a state-level administrator with an academic innovation institution that has extensive specified early literacy experience, to implement the initiative.
  • On the DOE website, publish information about the initiative, and, annually starting September 30, 2022, report on participating student achievement and learning gains.
  • The state-level administrator to:
  • Develop, in consultation with Just Read, Florida!, a diverse selection of high quality books for each grade level.
  • Distribute books through the mail at no cost to students either directly or through an agreement with a book distribution company.
  • Assist school districts and any partnering nonprofit organizations with developing public awareness of the initiative.
  • Maintain a clearinghouse for information on national, state, and local nonprofit organizations that support efforts to improve literacy and provide books to children.
  • Develop training materials for parents of students in the initiative.
  • Submit an annual financial report to the DOE which includes the number of students and households served.
  • Expend eligible contributions received only for the purchase and delivery of books, and an administrative fee not to exceed two percent of total eligible contributions.
  • School districts to:
  • Notify the parent of a student with a substantial reading deficiency or who scored below a level 3 on the statewide English Language Arts Assessment that the student is eligible to receive books at no cost through the New Worlds Reading Initiative.
  • Coordinate with the administrator to initiate monthly book delivery during the school year, beginning no later than December 31 during the 2021-2022 school year, and no later than October in subsequent years. A student remains in the initiative until he or she is promoted to sixth grade or his or her parent opts out, whichever is earlier.
  • Partner with local nonprofit organizations to raise awareness of the initiative, including information on eligibility and video training modules, the student handbook, the read-at-home plan provided to parents of students identified with a substantial reading deficiency, and local awareness events.
  • The Department of Revenue to administer the tax credit provisions of the initiative.

If approved by the Governor, these provisions take effect upon becoming law.

Vote: Senate 40-0; House 114-0