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INDIANAPOLIS — The Indy Learning Team is a local non-profit working to make sure children have access to books and tools to help them learn to read. 

They aim to surround kids with books so they have more opportunities to learn and practice. 

“Reading is the foundation of everything we do for success in school and success in life,” said Executive Director of The Indy Learning Team Susan Appel. 

They partner with different community organizations so they can have more material to keep them interested. 

Indy Learning Team puts on story time with multiple different schools and daycares for students from pre-school to fifth grade. They read to more than 200 students a week 

Volunteers like Professor Watermelon read to students at Sunrise Christian Academy once a week. 

“Even through a pandemic, reading has been an important part for mental health, for emotional health,” said Appel. 

They work to give instructions on how to read and also grab the kids’ attention with stories they can see themselves in. 

 “Kids’ faces light up when they get a book that they see themselves in or it’s an interest that they have. And we just love being part of the community,” Appel said. 

The organization partners with different bookstores to help bring more variety. 

“We think it’s really important that children have excellent books and books that reflect them,” said owner of Kids, Inc. Shirley Mullin. 

She says they have a lot of diversity in books. 

“I’m really happy to do it. We work with many different groups, but The Indy Learning Team is right here in our neighborhood, and they’re doing such great work,” said Mullin. 

People can buy books and donate them to the Indy Learning Team for them to give out to students. 

“There’s a lot of research that books in the home, books at school really impacts later literacy,” Appel added. 

You can either buy a book in person or click here. 

They are also looking for more volunteers to go read to students.