2021 Annual Report
It’s hard to believe another academic year is approaching. Teachers may already be readying their classrooms for a new group of young minds to arrive and lesson plans are being prepped. The school season, while predictable in nature in many ways, always carries such renewed hope and promise this time of year. The same can go for the Dirigo Reads program as we work with our book vendor to prepare our book selections for the next year and ensure adequate quantities are in place. It absolutely fills us with excitement to know that an approximate 2,800 first graders will be enjoying Dirigo Reads books this next year.
This past year, a teacher at Trenton Elementary School (as you will see inside this report) calls Dirigo Reads books her students’ “forever books” – and we just love this! Not only are the Dirigo Reads selections new books that can be taken home, but they are also a pathway towards a love of literacy—no matter if the child reads them independently, with a family member, or a beloved pet. While they may not keep the book forever, hopefully the joy of receiving a brand new book ignites a passion for reading forever into the future.
These “forever books” would not be possible, however, without the generous contributions by our community partners. Our Dirigo Star Founding Partner, Machias Savings Bank, has stood alongside us since we began in 2019 and many other amazing organizations have followed their lead: Bangor Savings Bank, Changing Seasons Federal Credit Union, Cross Insurance, Hannaford, First National Bank, Northern Light Health, PCHC, Woodlands Senior Living, and Acadia Federal Credit Union. We remain inspired by their commitment to foster a love of reading in their own communities—thank you! In addition, earlier this year, we were exceptionally pleased and grateful for a donation of 1,600 books by Disney. This book, Disney Junior’s Mickey Campy Camper Day, became our June selection and we heard from several schools that it quickly became a class favorite.
This next year, we look forward to welcome 36 additional Maine schools into the Dirigo Reads program, bringing our total to 87 schools served and includes both Portland and Augusta. In addition, new counties joining the program for the first time include York, Cumberland, and Oxford Counties, meaning that Dirigo Reads will be distributing free books to first graders every month of the school year in every one of Maine’s 16 counties.
We hope you will enjoy the information provided in this annual report, and please take time to read some of the comments from our schools. It is without a doubt that the teachers, administrators, and staff of each school served are one hundred percent committed to making sure their students have the best chance for a bright future. We see this monthly with their steadfast dedication to incorporate Dirigo Reads into their students’ first grade experience. This dedication and commitment is the soul of our program and we are so grateful for each and every one of them.
Karen & Dan
Download the full annual report here.