Latest Posts





Local charity ‘Start Reading Now’ aims to develop a love of reading in kids

This was Hmong International Academy’s 6th book fair. These 1st graders were great! The girl on the lower left with her backpack pulled up was sooooo excited while we gave the presentation she could hardly control herself. It was awesome!

Here at Center of the American Experiment, we advocate for free-market solutions. When free enterprise hasn’t developed a remedy to a tough problem facing society, government programs are too frequently pushed as the answer. We argue private charity should play a larger role, and would often do a better job helping those who need it.

One perennial problem facing Minnesota’s kids is low reading proficiency, particularly when the students live in low-income households. The latest state assessments found only 56% of fourth-graders are proficient in reading. That number drops to 32% for black students and 34% for Hispanic students.

State legislators have been trying to solve on this problem for years, to no avail, so private charities are stepping up. One of these charities, Start Reading Now, has a very simple mission: Help low-income kids create a home library of books to promote reading and set them up for success in school and life.

Start Reading Now held its annual book fairs this week, gifting 4,300 Minneapolis Public School kids in the highest poverty schools with 10 brand new books each. That adds up to a lot of summer reading!

Most of us can remember how great it felt as a kid to get a brand new book: the smell of the paper, the crisp new pages, the glossy cover. We couldn’t wait to snuggle up in a big chair and read it for the first time. It was like going on an adventure!

Start Reading Now follows the students they serve through three grade levels, providing them with ten new books a year, or thirty books by third grade. The kids get to pick out the books themselves, which makes it even more likely they’ll be excited to read them.

To demonstrate the enthusiasm these kids have for reading, one student shared he’s been waiting all year to get the sequel to the book he picked out last year. Another said he couldn’t wait to read allllll summer!

Learn more about Start Reading Now by visiting their website, liking their Facebook page, and following them on Twitter. Also, consider sponsoring a child at next year’s book fair for only $50!




Upcoming Events

  • Morning in Minnesota Breakfast Series: Winona

    Location: Signatures Restaurant, 22852 County Road 17, Winona, MN 55987

    Please join Center of the American Experiment Friday, March 6 at Signatures for a FREE breakfast with economist John Phelan.

    Register Now
  • Lunch Forum with Amity Shlaes

    Location: Hyatt Regency Minneapolis 1300 Nicollet Mall Minneapolis, MN 55403

    Buy tickets HERE. About This Event: Enjoy our Early Bird Ticket Special through February 23rd! After this date, ticket price will increase to $30. Doors open at 11:30 AM, program and lunch begin at Noon. In Great Society, the New York Times bestselling author of The Forgotten Man and Coolidgeoffers a stunning revision of our last great period of idealism, the 1960s, with burning relevance for our contemporary challenges. Today, a battle rages in our country. Many Americans are attracted to socialism and economic redistribution while opponents of those ideas argue for purer capitalism. In the 1960s, Americans sought the…

    Register Now
  • 2020 Annual Dinner Featuring Sarah Huckabee Sanders

    Location: Minneapolis Convention Center Ballroom 1301 2nd Ave S Minneapolis, MN 55403

    American President: The Unorthodox Approach to Politics that Changed the World. Sarah Huckabee Sanders served as White House Press Secretary for President Donald J. Trump from 2017 to 2019. A trusted confidant of the President, Sanders advised him on everything from press and communications strategy to personnel and policy. For two and a half years, Sanders was at the President’s side, battling with the media, working with lawmakers and CEOs, and staffing the President on every foreign trip, including dozens of meetings with foreign leaders. Sanders is only the third woman and the first mother to hold the job of…

    Register Now