United Way of York County is committed to getting books into the hands of children in our community. We know that having age appropriate books in the home is one way to stay on track to reading proficiently by the end of 3rd grade, which is one of the earliest indicators of long-term school success. We also know that in many low-income families, there are often zero age appropriate books in the home. We have created several initiatives that get books into the hands of children and encourages reading at home. Read about each of these initiatives below. Please note that as we place books into our community, we are always in need of more books! New and used children's books can be dropped off at our office at 800 E. King Street, Mondays - Fridays between the hours of 8:00am and 4:30pm. We also have a wish-list on Amazon where you can purchase books (we always have a high need for Spanish books) and send them directly to us. CLICK HERE to view our wish list. If you are interested in doing a book drive at your office, please contact us so that we can provide any materials that you may need.
The Early Literacy 100 Book Challenge is a pre-literacy program that encourages families to read to their children every day. Books are delivered to participating early education classrooms and the children take them home and track the number of books they read, with a goal of reading 100 books during the school year. Last year, 21 classrooms across York County participated in the challenge and a total of 56,248 books were read!
United Way Reading Ready Corners are located in high-traffic areas where children and adults may experience wait times. The goal is two-pronged: first, to encourage reading while adults and kids are waiting; and second, to offer the child a book to take home with them. Since the installation of the first Reading Ready Corner in 2015, United Way of York County has placed nine total across the county. To date, over 7,200 books have been distributed through our Reading Ready Corners. CLICK HERE for a Reading Ready Corner flyer which lists all of the locations.
In 2017, United Way of York County began installing Little Free Libraries to provide additional outlets for distributing books. There are currently two Little Free Libraries located at the United Way building and at Union Lutheran Church with plans to install two additional Little Free Libraries in the near future. Almost 1,500 books have been distributed to date through the Little Free Libraries and United Way staff have been excited to see children sitting around the libraries with friends and adults reading together.
As part of its focus on literacy, United Way of York County has partnered with the Downtown Rotary, Family First Health, and the York County Literacy Council to launch Reach Out and Read (ROAR). The concept of ROAR is to utilize well visits at pediatrician appointments where doctors will issue a “prescription” to read at home. At every well visit, children ages 6 months through 5 years old will receive a new book to take home with them.
The effectiveness of the Reach Out and Read model has been recognized by the American Academy of Pediatrics. The program is a cost effective way to increase reading frequency at home which has a direct correlation on a child’s vocabulary as well as putting them on the best path to reading proficiency. Funding for the program was provided by United Way of York County, Downtown Rotary, and the Early Learning Investment Commission. Additional contributions were made by the Meckley Foundation and Dillsburg Kiwanis. This partnership in funding will ensure the program will run effectively for the next three years.