Heifer International, an international development nonprofit, earlier this month announced this year’s Read to Feed program, a way for teachers to inspire students to read while raising funds to help end poverty and hunger.

All-new program materials paired with a proven curriculum that meets Common Core standards will provide teachers with new ways to motivate children to read and learn about global issues, with customizations for any classroom based on the specific reading goals of each student and grade.

Teachers and classroom leaders can order the Read to Feed kit by mail for easy-to-use program resources and find lesson plans, exciting videos, certificates, donation forms and other information online at www.readtofeed.org.

"The students started reading and did not look back. It is interesting to me that each year we offer the kids prizes to read – we have never seen them read like this," said Laura Stoner, Teacher and Parent Teacher Organization representative for the Morgan (Ind.) Township Reading Counts Program.

"I think the difference this year has been that when they read they make a difference for someone else. I also think that they grasped the idea of community. When each one does a little it adds up to a lot," continued Stoner.

Children participating in Read to Feed (individually or as a group) get sponsors for each book, chapter or unit of time they read during their challenge period. The teachers can create their own customized fundraising page on the www.readtofeed.org website to offer sponsors an easy way to donate and to keep track of their progress toward their goal. At the end of the program, the group pools the funds raised and decides which animals to donate through Heifer International, which will help families move from hunger to self-reliance.

Heifer International’s animal gifts are fun, but they’re also powerful instruments in the struggle against hunger. Animals provide nutrition for malnourished families, and their excess products (eggs, milk, wool, etc.) can be sold for money to pay for school, medicine and other expenses. When they reproduce, their offspring will be passed on to another family in need. With the gift of an animal, any student can be a part of the solution to hunger and poverty.

To learn more or to order the Read to Feed kit, e-mail info@heifer.org or call 877-275-READ (7323). The Read to Feed videos and materials can also be downloaded at www.readtofeed.org.