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300 Books by 3rd Grade

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300 Books by 3rd Grade

Evansville Vanderburgh Public Library

Education - Birth Thru Teens | 2021

Innovation Summary

When recent ILEARN scores reported that only 39.8% of students are proficient at reading, EVPL developed the 300 Books by 3rd Grade program to support reaching the 3rd grade literacy level. Student success in school often depends upon their ability to read at the 3rd grade level, and this new program motivates that development.

Problem Statement

While a child’s early literacy skill development is crucial to their school readiness, continued support of literacy development was missing in EVPL’s program offerings with the exception of our summer reading program. Research has shown that children go from “learning to read” to “reading to learn” in 3rd grade, and EVPL now provides year-long reading support. To support literacy development and help improve ILEARN scores, 300 Books provides encouragement for continued reading success.


EVPL wanted to make participation in the 300 Books by 3rd Grade program accessible and easy to complete. EVPL seeks to eliminate any barriers that would have made the program not achievable for all students. Using a paper log or Beanstack, books are tracked by students. When they reach a reading milestone (every 50 books), they receive a corresponding button. Completion of the program also gains them a social media shout out. The COVID-19 pandemic prevents staff from going to schools, but we promote the program digitally.


The 300 Books by 3rd Grade started on August 1, 2021, and has over 60 students registered. The number will increase when we are allowed back into the classrooms. Data will be collected from participating classrooms in the form of a survey from teachers. This survey will capture their students’ success and comfort with reading at the end of each school year. Within the first 45 days of this program, libraries from Indiana and Florida have contacted EVPL for information about implementing the program at their libraries.