In this Sept. 3, 2020, file photo, first-grade student teacher Mickala Wheeler instructs her class. Credit: Linda Coan O'Kresik / BDN

A program that has a goal of giving a book to every first-grade student in Maine is hoping to increase the number of participating schools.

The program is called Dirigo Reads and it wants to accomplish its goal by 2025. Program founders Dan and Karen Cashman of Bangor said they’ve started a new solicitation drive for the 2022-23 school year.

More than 51 schools in 13 of the state’s 16 counties participate in the program. The program gives the students a new book every month of the school year so they can start a home library by the end of the academic year.

Dan Cashman said the program has given books to about 14 percent of the first-graders in Maine public schools.