Every first-grader in Maine, including students at South School, recently received a free book and bookmark from the Maine Education Association.

South School students received the books June 13.

A total of 14 different titles were distributed and students were encouraged to read their own book and then share with a classmate.

"What's so wonderful about these free books is my kids can take them home. For some of my students, I know they don't have access to books in their home and as their teachers I am always looking for ways to get them to read and learn when they are outside of the classroom. These books give them that opportunity," said South School first-grade teacher Mary Tolman in a news release.

The books were funded by a Read Across America grant received by MEA paid for by the National Education Association and Renaissance Dental. The cost was $10,000. MEA paid for the bookmarks.