Kyle Long helping Chicago kids get new books

Chicago Bears offensive guard Kyle Long (75) reacts after an NFL football game against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers Sunday, Sept. 30, 2018, in Chicago. The Bears won 48-10. (AP Photo/David Banks)
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CHICAGO (CBS19 NEWS) -- A campaign for literacy is helping thousands of kids in Chicago get brand-new books.

Three-time Pro-Bowler and Chicago Bear Kyle Long is working with First Book to send the books as part of the Chris Long Foundation's "First Quarter for Literacy" campaign.

The campaign is an initiative that aims to get books to children in underserved areas and encourage family engagement with reading.

Kyle is donating $25,000 as part of the effort in order to support early childhood literacy for students in the Chicago area.

Chris, the leader of the foundation and Kyle's brother, is also matching the donation, meaning more than 12,000 books will go to more than 2400 children.

"It's a priority of mine to invest in Chicago kids, especially in the most underserved areas, and one of the best ways to do that is through reading resources," said Kyle. "I am excited to partner with my brother's foundation and First Book to ensure thousands of Chicago kids have books of their own to take home during the vital summer months."

Teachers in Chicago are hosting "unboxing events" this week to share the books with students and celebrate the importance of reading.

The First Quarter for Literacy drive was launched in September 2018 when Chris donated a quarter of his 2018 salary to increase early literacy for young children.

It is designed to put more books in the hands of children in underserved neighborhoods; build excitement and awareness around the role parents and caregivers play in raising young readers; and call on fans and players to join in the effort by purchasing books to enable distribution to more kids.

Research published in the journal Urban Education in 2016 looked into "book deserts," which are areas of concentrated poverty or low-income where a lack of access to books and other publications may constrain a child's development and their ability to be ready to learn when they get to school.

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