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United Way, San Diego Food Bank Partner To Preserve Reading Skills

More than 25 percent of San Diego County fourth graders cannot read proficiently and studies show reading skills are lost over the summer, especially among children who don’t have access to books at home.

Aired 6/25/13 on KPBS News.

Every summer, the United Way does something to support the community and encourage reading. This year, its handing out bilingual books, bags and personalized notes to inspire a love for reading.

That’s why two San Diego organizations are joining forces to make a difference.

Every summer, the United Way does something to support the community and encourage reading. This year, its handing out bilingual books, bags and personalized notes to inspire a love for reading.

“This is a very small step toward empowering our children to engage in reading so that they have dramatically different futures,” said Jon Vance with the San Diego branch of the United Way. “A lot of our community is bilingual and so we need to focus and address that and develop programs. That’s why we were able to raise over 25,000 books during a virtual book drive in March.”

More than half of San Diego students come from low-income families. Jim Floros, CEO of the San Diego Food Bank, said the program is another way to break the cycle of poverty.

“So not only helping feed kids, but also giving them books so they can continue to learn and read is what we really need to help people go forward and have a successful bountiful life," Floros said.

About 4,000 books will be distributed to children throughout the county this summer. Organizers say children who own their books are more likely to read them.

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