Soaring to success

In 2011, JetBlue launched Soar with Reading, a program designed to encourage kids' imaginations to take flight through reading and to get books into the hands of kids that need them most. Since its inception, JetBlue and their partners have donated over $2.75 million worth of books to kids in need. In 2014, JetBlue commissioned a study by Susan Neuman, childhood literacy expert and one of the researchers of a 2001 study that illustrated there is access to only one age-appropriate book for every 300 children in underserved communities. Neuman was tasked with finding out if the landscape was better or worse for our nation's children. Focusing on three key JetBlue communities, Neuman's early research (presently on-going) has shown the problem has become much, much worse. In fact, it's a book desert for children in underserved communities.

After receiving the early findings of Neuman's research, JetBlue created an advisory board made up of childhood literacy and development experts representing several esteemed organizations. With the assistance of the advisory board, JetBlue developed a plan that was piloted in one of the communities in need: Anacostia, Washington, DC., where there is access to only one age-appropriate book for every 830 children.

This past summer, JetBlue thoughtfully designed vending machines that dispensed brand-new, free books for kids ages 0-14. Three vending machines were placed in family-friendly locations in the community. Kids were allowed to take as many books as they were interested in – no strings attached. It is our hope that providing free access to books in a fun and convenient way will encourage reading.

Throughout this time, we measured our impact. The goal of our research is to find out if providing a fun, unique way to receive free books will not only increase access to books in the Anacostia neighborhood, but also increase demand, reading comprehension and exposure. STAY TUNED!

Chapters in our 2015 Soar With Reading initiative:

  • Vending Machines Dispensing Free Books: Placed in three high-traffic locations (a church, a grocery store and a community center).
  • Weekly Hosted Reading Parties: Crewmembers, local community partners and celebrities read and interacted with children to provide a personal element to the program.
  • Campaign Call-to-Action: 2015's year campaign call-to-action included a public, online voting competition. The online #BookBattle allowed people to select which city would win 100,000 children's books in 2016.
  • Celebrity Ambassador: Teen star, Victoria Justice engaged her fan-base through social media and NFL quarterback, Robert Griffin III, helped launch the pilot program in Anacostia.
  • Interactive Website: Communities were encouraged to vote online and could learn fun facts about each competing city, view reading lists and literacy tips and listen to excerpts from their favorite Magic Tree House book.

For more information on Soar With Reading, please visit the Soaring With Reading website. , link opens in a new window operated by external parties and may not conform to the same accessibility policies as JetBlue

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