Reading Room FAQs

Q:  What is the Ben Carson Reading Project?

A:  The Ben Carson Reading Project is the second initiative of the Carson Scholars Fund. The primary purpose of the project is to provide funding and support to schools so that they can create a literacy-enriched environment for children to develop their reading skills. The Reading Project is dedicated to combating illiteracy and promoting leisure reading as a key to unlocking a child's potential. Each room is filled with hundreds of books for students to explore from a variety of authors, topics, and genres. The Reading Room is decorated with attractive, eye-catching artwork based on Dr. Carson's "THINK BIG" philosophy. The cozy, nurturing environment encourages students and their families to come together to recognize the importance of everyday leisure reading.

Q:   How many books are in a Ben Carson Reading Room?

A:  The goal is to have over 500 high-interest books from a variety of genres, authors, and topics in each room. Many schools survey the students to see what they are most interested in reading. Some schools choose books that are not available in the school library.

Q:  What is the difference between a Ben Carson Reading Room and the school Library?

A:  While many students have the opportunity to visit the school library, most of the time spent in the library is devoted to curricula instruction, researching a subject, or writing book reports.  For many students a visit to the library is an arduous task rather than a pleasant experience.  Due to budgetary cutbacks countless schools find that they are unable to purchase new reading materials for the library. The Ben Carson Reading Project allows schools the opportunity to purchase high-interest reading materials.  In addition, students rarely have an opportunity to select their reading materials in a classroom setting. In the reading room, students have the freedom to choose their own books. When students choose what they read, they will read more. 

Q:  How does the Carson Scholars Fund get the money to create a Ben Carson Reading Room?

A:   In order to get the funding to create a Ben Carson Reading Room, the Carson Scholars Fund works with individuals, businesses, civic organizations, and foundations. 

Q:  How are schools selected to receive a Ben Carson Reading Room?

A:  In many instances, the funder targets a geographic location, school district, or a specific school.  In addition, the Carson Scholars Fund seeks school partners that:

  • have a need for a reading room
  • have highly motivated individuals and staff that are able to execute the program
  • have the space to accommodate a reading room

Q:  What is Dr. Carson’s THINK BIG philosophy?

A:  THINK BIG is Dr. Ben Carson’s philosophy that promotes outstanding academic achievement and dedication to helping others. Children, students, and adults have found that when they THINK BIG, they are on their way to achieving their goals. 
T is for Talent/time: Recognize them as gifts
H Hope for good things and be honest
I Insight from people and good books
N Be nice to all people
K Knowledge:  Recognize it as the key to living
B Books:  Read them actively
I In-depth learning skills:  Develop them
G Dr. Carson’s “G” is for God.  Everyone has their own beliefs.  When you THINK BIG, what does the “G” stand for in your life?

All Ben Carson Reading Rooms proudly display artwork and graphics promoting Dr. Carson’s THINK BIG philosophy. 

Q:  How long is a school required to maintain a Ben Carson Reading Room?

A:  Since the funder is making a major investment into the school and community, it is the Carson Scholars Fund’s expectation that the school will maintain the Ben Carson Reading Room for a minimum of ten years. Many schools recognize the value of a Ben Carson Reading Room and continue the relationship beyond the requirement. 

Hall’s Cross Roads Elementary School in Aberdeen, Maryland was the first school to have a Ben Carson Reading Room.  The room was established in 2000 and it continues to be a source of pride for the school.

Q:  How can volunteers become involved with the Ben Carson Reading Project?
A:  Volunteers play an integral role in the Ben Carson Reading Project.  When a room is being set-up, volunteers can assist the school by cleaning the area, painting, stamping and shelving books, and attending the opening day festivities.

Once a room is established, volunteers can continue to be involved in the reading room.  Volunteers can monitor the Ben Carson Reading Room, read to students, have students read to them, maintain records, and organize an after school book club.

Q:  I am unable to volunteer, how else can I become involved?

A:  While not everyone has the time to volunteer in a Ben Carson Reading Room, everyone can support the project. To keep children motivated and engaged in reading, the Carson Scholars Fund is always looking for ways to infuse additional books into the reading rooms.  If you are able to provide monetary support, please consider contributing on the CSF website at  Your donation will be used to purchase books that students can and want to read. 

Q:  What is Ben Carson Reading Day?

A:  Ben Carson Reading Day is an annual literacy event held each November in conjunction with American Education Week. This national day of reading is designed to raise awareness on the importance of everyday leisure reading. 

In honor of Ben Carson Reading Day, reading room schools across the country engage students in activities to highlight reading. Special events have included: guest readers, such as local government officials and celebrities; viewing a recording of Dr. Carson sharing a children’s book; author visits; and other activities.