When adults read with young children it makes them better prepared to start school. Studies found that children whose caregivers read to them for twenty minutes a day find reading enjoyable and are ready to enter school with literacy skills. It sounds so simple, yet 39.5% of Blair County students remain below proficient in reading skills at third grade. Moreover, families living at or near the poverty level struggle to put food on the table let alone purchase new books to read to their children. 69.5% of Blair County children under the age of five are living in economically at-risk families. (The Pennsylvania Key Program Reach & Risk Assessment)
United Way of Blair County and program sponsor, McQuaide Blasko Attorneys-at-Law, want all kids in Blair County to enter school with the skills they need to experience success as they progress through graduation and beyond. This is why we are introducing the Raising Readers program, a book drive and distribution of books to low-income families throughout the County.
The book drive runs from Monday, March 25 through Saturday, April 6, 2019. New and like new books for children 0-5 years old are being collected at the following locations: Altoona Area Public Library · ARC Federal Credit Union (both locations) · Bellwood-Antis Public Library · Blair Regional YMCA · Claysburg Area Public Library · CNB Bank · CORE Physical Therapy · Domino’s Pizza, Tyrone · Garver Memorial YMCA · Greenbean Coffee House · Hollidaysburg Area Public Library · Kelly Wike, State Farm Insurance · Martinsburg Community Library · McQuaide Blasko Attorneys at Law · Northern Blair County Recreation Center · Pennsylvania Highlands Community College, Blair Center · Powerhouse Subs · Roaring Spring Community Library · The Arc of Blair County · The Clay Cup · Tyrone-Snyder Public Library · United Way of Blair County.
United Way of Blair County will work with local early childhood education centers, schools, grant recipient programs, and other community partners who have direct interaction with 0-5 year-olds to distribute the books. Children will receive a free book to take home and read with their parents or caregivers. Follow-up with the caregivers will be completed during subsequent interactions when the child receives another book.
Raising Readers is available to all children in Blair County. If you would like more information about the program, please contact United Way of Blair County at 814-317-5108.