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United Way Blog

National Reading Day:  A Great Day to Read and Volunteer

Today is National Reading Day in the U.S. Before you curl up with your favorite magazine or a new book, remember how you learned to read and consider paying it forward to a young reader. National Reading Day aims to help Pre-K through third grade students develop the literacy skills they need to become lifelong learners. United Way and other nonprofit groups, schools, libraries, parents and volunteers participate in a variety of activities with younger readers on National Reading Day.

For example, Souris Valley United Way celebrates National Reading Day each year by donating several Golden Rule and Dr. Seuss books to each child in local Head Start programs. The nearby Barnes and Noble bookstore collected 4,000 books from shoppers during the holidays and United Way is distributing them to children and families in need as quickly as possible.

Children who start to develop strong reading skills when they are young are more likely to achieve success during their school years and throughout their adult life. The more that young children are read to, the greater their interest in mastering reading. But many young children do not have the opportunity to benefit from being able to read a book with a caring adult and at the end of third grade are still struggling to learn to read when they should be reading to learn. Early grade reading is directly linked to high school graduation rates.

By donating a book, volunteering to read with children or otherwise supporting early-grade literacy, you can foster a child’s love of reading and impact his or her life immediately and for their lifetime. Volunteer opportunities for reading and tutoring vary. Volunteers can be assigned to read to an entire class, as a one-time opportunity or to commit to volunteering on a regular basis. One-on-one reading sessions give volunteers the opportunity for a more long-term commitment with a student and are most often scheduled as a weekly session for the entire school year.

Nearly 350,000 people like you have pledged to be a volunteer reader, tutor or mentor. It’s easy to pledge and to find the resources you need to get started. Check out these recommended authors, suggested titles of children’s books, ideas for activities, and national and regional sources for free booksYour local United Way can connect you to literacy programs in your area. Don’t wait! National Reading Day, or any day, would be a great day to pledge to change a life through reading.