Reaching Families Where They Are: Examining an Innovative Book Distribution Program

Susan B. Neuman, Jillian J. Knapczyk

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


This study examines a community-wide effort to promote greater access to books through the mechanisms of physical and psychological proximity. It addresses the seasonal summer slide through an innovative book distribution program in neighborhoods identified as book deserts. Four low-income neighborhoods were provided with vending machines used to dispense free children’s books over the summer months. Within a design research framework, the study was designed to capture how, why, and in what ways these machines were used in communities. Results indicated that providing greater access through close physical proximity to books and greater adult support enhanced children’s opportunities to learn.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)542-569
Number of pages28
JournalUrban Education
Issue number4
StatePublished - Apr 1 2020


  • identity
  • literacy
  • parent participation
  • poverty
  • readiness
  • reading
  • social
  • urban education

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Education
  • Urban Studies


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