At a Monday back-to-school rally at Friendly Inn Settlement in Cleveland, a new neighborhood – Central — joined WKYC’s ongoing literacy crusade.

The Central Promise Neighborhood rolled out its new program, called Promise Reads, handing out free books and bookmarks to families.

There was a Little Free Library present inside the Friendly Inn at the rally, symbolic of the fact that Central is now Cleveland’s newest Little Free Library Neighborhood. It’s a designation that simply means that leaders in that neighborhood have committed to hosting regular events around literacy.

 The project, yet another a spinoff of WKYC’s successful Slavic Village Reads and Hough Reads initiatives, is a partnership with the Sisters of Charity Foundation’s Cleveland Central Promise Neighborhood program.

And as with Hough and Slavic Village, WKYC will be supporting the Central community by providing media coverage of its literacy events in the months ahead.

WKYC and several other community partners were present for the kickoff of Promise Reads, including The Literacy Cooperative which was signing up families for its Imagination Library free book program. A storyteller from Friendly Inn’s SPARK program kept the little ones captivated by reading a book about counting cookies.

The Cleveland Kids’ Book Bank donated more than 1,500 books for the rally. Some kids stuffed them into their new backpacks, others read them on site while waiting for haircuts and hair braiding.