Barack Obama has announced a plan to put $250 million worth of e-books into the hands of low income kids. With the help of all the major publishers, 10,000 e-books for children aged 4-14 will be made available via a free app developed by New York Public Library.
This initiative marks a start on closing the achievement gap with regard to literacy. There are dozens of studies that point out that early literacy is a good indicator of subsequent academic achievement.
Critics of this plan have already mentioned the fact that as many as 40% of the lowest income families have no computer in the home. To counter this, the plan leans heavily on libraries to bridge that gap. Libraries will be “a third place”, after homes and schools, according to Megan Smith, the U.S.’s chief technology officer. The government has already pledged to get broadband into all public schools and libraries by 2018.