Jefferson County’s Gift of Literacy was inspired by the Gift of Literacy program in Springfield, Oregon. Springfield had heard about book-giving program in Wyoming, “Casper Cares, Casper Reads,” now known simply as Wyoming Reads. In 1996, the Sue Jorgensen Library Foundation was established by John Jorgensen to benefit libraries and honor his late wife’s commitment to childhood literacy. In 2010, Jefferson County School District partnered with the Rotary Club of Jefferson County to create a book-giving program for their students. May 2011, every first-grade student in the district received a brand new, hardbound book at a ceremony celebrating and encouraging literacy. In May 2015, Culver School District first graders also joined the celebration, spreading the love of literacy throughout our community and beyond!


Gift of Literacy aims to encourage first-graders to enjoy and be excited about reading and learning by:

  • Promoting the love of reading in young children at an early age.
  • Inspiring long-term success in school and in life by emphasizing the importance of reading in our lives

Students are:

  • Exposed to a variety of books: Each student reads up to five carefully selected titles throughout the year.

  • Empowered them with a choice: Each student chooses his or her favorite title and receives a hardbound copy of the book at the annual celebration.

  • Provided with an exciting event: All the first-graders go to a celebration where they meet their favorite characters, such as Clifford the Big Red Dog, Pete the Cat and others.

  • Students are split into small groups and read to by community members such as city councilors, local legislators, school board members and library staff, sometimes even authors, at the celebration.