STE{a}M & Stuff Book Drive

2018 Summer Literacy Book Drive

Through May 25, bring to any BE. Orlando  or CFFC event.

Addressing specific gaps in book drives, we are seeking books for young adults (middle and high school) focusing on STEM and/or highlighting women and minorities. Books must be in new condition and be secular in nature.

Our books will be donated to support the United Way’s Day of Action and other local  initiatives that address summer reading loss in Central Florida communities.

Results – 229 Books highlighting STEM and/or successful women and minorities.
–> 2017 (97 books), 2016 (132 books)

book bannerSummer Reading Loss is a devastating phenomenon.  Lack of access to appropriate – and interesting – books in the home, reduced guided learning opportunities, and other factors have a statistically significant impact on the continuum of success for K-12 students, especially those in low or low-middle income families.

Our local Heart of Florida United Way invests a great deal of time, research, programming, and collaborated efforts to create initiatives that have meaningful results for children in our community.  Part of this effort is a Summer Reading Book Drive through which they not only gather more than 8,000 books to provide to local children, but also raise awareness about Summer Reading Loss challenges – and solutions.  They distribute the books at their Day of Action literacy events (where you can volunteer!) and other summer programs that provide educational opportunities for at-risk youth in our community.

photo-mainEach year, BE. supports the HFUW efforts by hosting a STEM-themed book drive for members, partners, and friends.

sir-cumference-and-the-dragon-of-piShare fun books like the Sir Cumference Series, Flatland, Fantasia Mathematica, the Cartoon Guide to Physics, Shockingly Silly Jokes about Electricity and Magnetism, and In Search of Schrodinger’s Cat with at-risk youth in our community.  What STEM fiction inspired you in your youth?  Remember that these books will be given to take home, so give books that the recipient will be curious about and want to read.  Your gift could be the spark that inspires a life-long interest in STEM!

Books for all age groups are needed; however, the older kids get left out!  Please consider young adult literature for middle and high school students. Another gap is books that represent diverse populations and normalize the diversity in our culture.  Seek books with characters and authors that represent ethnic, racial, gender, sexual orientation, abilities, and more. Consider finding STEM titles published in Spanish.

Make a Meaningful Difference!STEAM Book Drive logo2

Join us in supporting this important effort! 

BE. Orlando is specifically seeking STEM-inspired books that children and young adults will love to read. Help us contribute to young adult interest in the sciences –

  • Giving them a book they WANT to read is essential.
  • NEW books only, please.
  • Focus on books for middle and high-school individuals
  • Give books with a science or math theme.
  • Give books that highlight or normalize STEM accomplishments of women and minorities.


Drop off STEM & Stuff books at any participating group before the end of May, or contact us to schedule a pick-up at your office location in the last week of May.

Participating group event calendars:


STEAM Book Drive logo

Note: Books donated to BE. Orlando that explicitly promote any faith or non-faith perspectives (bibles, Christian/religious stories, Torah, Quran, atheist literature, etc.), or books that are not in gift condition, will be brought to the Goodwill or recycled as appropriate for the condition of the book.

 How the books from this book drive are used

Day of Action: On June 21st, the United Way will host its annual Day of Action literacy projects. Hundreds of community volunteers participate in reading activities with children at local schools, shelters, and youth programs.  All of the children who attend the events receive books as gifts – last year, each child received at least five books!  To volunteer with the Day of Action, visit the HFUW Day of Action page or call 407.835.0900.

Other Programs: Additional books are used to assist local literacy initiatives throughout the summer at United Way partner agencies.

Did you know:

In lower income neighborhoods, there are an average of one book per every three hundred children; in middle income neighborhoods, there are 13 books per every one child.  For every one line of print read by low-income children, middle-income children read three.   Summer learning loss accounts for two-thirds of the ninth grade achievement gap in reading.

Quick Facts on Summer Reading Loss:

  • Students can lose up to 25% of their reading level over the summer.
  • Reading just four books over the summer can prevent the summer slide, and can actually increase reading levels.
  • Price is the number one barrier to book ownership .
  • A recent study found that in middle-income neighborhoods, the ratio of age-appropriate books is 13 books for every child, while in low-income neighborhoods, it’s 1 book for every 300 children.
  • A conservative estimate of lost instructional time is approximately two months or roughly 22% of the school year.

It’s common for teachers to spend at least a month re-teaching material that students have forgotten over the summer, eliminating a month that could have been spent on new information.

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Volunteer for Day of Action with the United Way

On June 21st, volunteers will work with at-risk youth at literacy events in our community.  The events are hosted by the Heart of Florida United Way and books from book drives across the region will be distributed to children at these events.

To volunteer, visit the Heart of Florida United Way Day of Action project list or learn about the Day of Action.