In partnership with the nonprofit group Reading is Fundamental, beginning Tuesday through Feb. 15, McDonald’s will be distributing books instead of toys to customers who order Happy Meals, the Los Angeles Times reported. More than 17 million books are expected to be distributed.
“Reading Is Fundamental is pleased to partner with McDonald’s again this year and provide much-needed books to children who have limited access to them,” said Carol H. Rasco, president and CEO of Reading Is Fundamental, the Los Angeles Times reported. “Books are the building blocks for a better future. They foster the imagination, expand our understanding of the world and fuel a lifelong love of learning. We’re pleased McDonald’s is helping millions of children discover the joy of reading.”
One of four petite-sized paperbacks, made specifically to fit into a Happy Meal box, will be distributed with each meal ordered. Those books include the classic “Paddington” story by Michael Bond, along with three other valentine-themed books. At some stores, Spanish versions of the books will be available as well. Reading Is Fundamental claimed that nearly 65 percent of fourth graders read at or below a basic level and over 75 percent of children who are poor readers by the end of third grade fall behind in school.
"To help fix this, we must get books into more young readers’ hands. Numerous studies confirmed the number of books in a home directly predicts a child’s proficiency at reading. In fact, a child who grows up with books in his or her home reaches a higher level of education than those who do not,” wrote Rasco in a blog post.
The popular burger chain gave away books in 2013 and 2014 as well and is expected to have distributed 50 million books by the end of this year’s giveaway.
After it began offering breakfast items all day, sales at U.S. McDonald’s restaurants rose 5.7 percent in the most recent quarter, which is nearly double what analysts expected. McDonald's also reported the best U.S. same-store sales in over 15 quarters.