Literacy Program

Mission and Background

The Toys for Tots Literacy Program was established in 2008 as a year-round effort to offer our Nation’s most economically disadvantaged children the ability to compete academically and to succeed in life by providing them direct access to books and educational resources that enhance their ability to read and communicate effectively. Literacy forms the foundation of communication and impacts many areas of a child’s life such as learning, interacting with others, and their ability to work later in life.

The Toys for Tots Literacy Program not only brings the joy of reading to less fortunate children, but also serves as an important tool in breaking the cycle of poverty.

How it Works

Every donation to the Toys for Tots Literacy Program benefits local children in need or the libraries, schools, and existing programs that serve them. Providing children’s books to families will offer these children a fun way to close the reading gap and help improve their academic success. Literacy is the foundation for success in life. Toys for Tots wants every child to experience the joy of reading, and that starts with having access to age-appropriate books.

Click here to find more information about the Literacy Program on the Frequently Asked Questions page.

Literacy Facts & Figures

  • According to the National Center for Children in Poverty, approximately one in six children in the United States live at or below the poverty level.
  • 1 in 4 children in America grow up without learning how to read.
  • Children in low-income families face many barriers to success impeding their ability to learn, leading to social, emotional, and behavioral problems. One of these barriers is simply having access to age-appropriate books within their homes.
  • Researchers have found that in low-income neighborhoods, the availability of books per child is approximately 1 book per 300 children.

The Toys for Tots Literacy Program distributed 4.1 million books in 2023 and has distributed over 57 million books to disadvantaged children since the Program’s inception.

How to Support

Publishers and clearing houses can make tax-deductible in-kind donations of new children’s books. Toys for Tots will pick-up directly from your distribution centers, cover the cost of shipping and distribute to local Toys for Tots campaigns.