AKontheGO's Read on the Fly program is a reading and book distribution project launched in 2016 at the Ted Stevens Anchorage International Airport. Designed to support the concepts of reading and travel in Alaska and beyond, Read On the Fly bookshelves are located in multiple strategic locations around the airport: B concourse nursery (just beyond the junction to B and C concourses, near the "Big Moose"); A concourse near Ticketing; A concourse near Ravn Alaska gates; A concourse near PenAir/Grant Aviation gates.
With the support of airport officials, financial support from Alaska Airlines, and individual and business partnerships, Read On the Fly is distributing approximately 100 books a week to children traveling through Alaska's largest airport, with additional airports scheduled for 2017. Fairbanks, Ketchikan, and Juneau are next on the list, and we are excited to continue the mission of promoting reading and literacy in Alaska.
Read On the Fly works with a simple premise: get kids reading while waiting for flights, during flights, and long after their journey. Better still, for families who don't often read together, books and cozy reading spaces near Read On the Fly sites will offer peaceful respite from the busy hustle and bustle of travel, especially for families traveling between rural areas or overseas. In short, children will have the opportunity to read instead of picking up an electronic device, and that creates more conversation, critical thinking skills, and improvement of vocabulary.
How does Read On the Fly work? All books provided for the project are donated; books must be in good condition and will vetted by Read On the Fly volunteers. Bookshelves in the reading areas are stocked on a regular basis and children may choose to pick out a book to read while waiting for a flight, or select one book to take on their journey. Operating similarly to the "take a book-leave a book" shelves found in many hotels or restaurants, Read On the Fly shelves will contain books for kids 0-16.
Why are you doing this? The Annie E. Casey Foundation reported in 2014 that 73% of Alaska 4th grade students are not proficient in reading; 64% of young children in Alaska are not attending preschool programs.* The Alaska Department of Health and Human Services also reported in 2014 that "Children who enter school with a basic knowledge of math and reading are more likely than their peers to experience later academic success, attain higher levels of education, and secure employment.**
Can I help? YES! Donate a book for children 0-16, volunteer to pick up books from our three drop-off sites (listed below) or help classify, mark, and load books for distribution. Books should be in good condition and appropriate in content.
Do you accept monetary donations? As of January 1, 2017 Read On the Fly has the support of Best Beginnings Alaska as fiscal sponsoring agency. This means the project will be able to apply for grant funding, host fundraising events, and receive individual and business donations in addition to our books generously given to the program.
Alaska Center for Pediatrics, northeast Anchorage
Alaska Travel Industry Association, downtown Anchorage
Kaleidoscape Play Studio, midtown Anchorage
It is hoped that this project will continue to grow; reading a good book can open doors of imagination and mystery, fact and inspiration. All kids need are tools to help shape their futures.
To contact AKontheGO publisher and avid reader Erin Kirkland directly, send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org. Also consider supporting our Facebook page and Twitter account to keep up with the latest in book-themed information and moments of joy.
Thank you to the following individuals and companies who have offered services, books, and hours of time toward this important project to benefit the kids of Alaska and beyond.
- Alaska Department of Transportation (Ted Stevens Anchorage International Airport)
- Alaska Airlines
- Alaska Center for Pediatrics
- Alaska Travel Industry Association
- Best Beginnings
- North Star Imagination Library
- Pat Jensen, Northwind Productions
- Municipality of Anchorage Public Library System
- Christy Newell
- Kaleidoscape Play Studio
- Robin Brooks
- Jenny Blanchard
- Kristin Platt