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Nadiir King

In the News

Free Library of Phila

United Way Adds Some Magic to Summer Reading Program

(Philadelphia, PA) — United Way of Southeastern Pennsylvania in partnership with Wachovia is proud to announce it will be adding some magic to Philadelphia Free Library’s 2003 Get in the Game @ Your Library as part of its on-going Summer Reading Program.

United Way is donating 11,000 WishRock gift sets for the Library to use as incentive prizes for children to read more during the summer. The gift set consists of the book My Wish Rock and a polished “wish rock”, creatively packaged to appeal to children. Wachovia, which is a leading sponsor of the Summer Reading Program, provided the funds for the WishRock purchase.

Last year 53,914 children and teens participated in the Free Library’s summer reading program, of which approximately 48,000 were children ages 12 and under, according to Lori Blount, Library Special Projects Coordinator. As reported in a Free Library proposal, 2003 Summer Reading Project, the program is “one of the most successful of its kind in the nation.” Last year the program increased its participation rate by 13 percent over the previous year and this year hopes to involve 55,000 children and teens in summer reading.

The Free Library describes its Summer Reading Program as an “effective tool in sustaining summertime literacy activities for children and teens through age-appropriate reading …Children in every income level who read six or more books over the summer have demonstrated substantial gains in reading achievement.

United Way of Southeastern Pennsylvania is strongly committed to helping children and teens achieve school success as part of its Community Impact Plan. The non-profit regards its support of the summer reading program as a natural extension of its effort to invest in children and youth.

Blount believes the WishRock gift sets donated by United Way will be one of the more popular prizes among the children aged five through twelve years. “Children earn stickers for every reading or library activity they participate in, and by earning a sticker each week, they are awarded an incentive prize,” explains Blount.

Running June 16 through August 3, 2003, the summer reading program Get in the Game @ your Library will be conducted at all 54 branches of the Free Library, with each local branch determining the reading and participation requirements necessary to earn the more significant prizes like the WishRock on a graduated scale. The program will also be offered at the Library for the Blind and Physically Handicapped and will be extended even further when the Free Library’s Summer Out Reach Workers visit summer camps and other groups.

As part of the official kick-off of the summer reading program, the Free Library of Philadelphia announced that My WishRock author Dorette Rota Jackson will read from her book to a group of children attending the event scheduled for 9:45 a.m. on Wednesday, June 11, 2003, at the Central Library branch, 1901 Vine Street, Philadelphia, PA.

United Way of Southeastern Pennsylvania (UWSEPA), established in 1921, is one of Greater Philadelphia’s largest non-profit organizations and one of approximately 1,400 affiliated United Ways nationwide. Each United Way is independent, separately incorporated and governed by local volunteers.

United Way of Southeastern Pennsylvania leads, inspires and mobilizes donors and volunteers to help provide solutions to essential health and human service issues and improve the quality of people’s lives in the community. To find out more about United Way of Southeastern Pennsylvania and a host of volunteer opportunities to suit your talents and your time schedule visit,