JWB & partners to give thousands of new books to children this summer

Part of “Early Readers, Future Leaders” Pinellas Campaign for Grade Level Reading

In conjunction with National Summer Learning Day last Fri., June 19, the Juvenile Welfare Board of Pinellas County (JWB) and its partners kicked off an initiative aimed at getting new books into the hands of about 10,000 Pinellas County children this summer.

JWB gave new books to children who attend quality early learning centers in St. Petersburg.  Throughout the summer, books will also be distributed to children served by other JWB funded programs and Summer BreakSpot sites across Pinellas County.

The effort is intended to address summer learning loss by increasing access to books, promoting intentional reading and instilling a love of reading for young children. Parents will receive reading tips, plus other information to include a list of area public libraries.

This is part of the new “Early Readers, Future Leaders” Pinellas Campaign for Grade Level Reading, a collective initiative of JWB and its partners aimed at increasing reading proficiency among Pinellas County third graders. Up until third grade children learn to read; after that, they read to learn to master the more complex subject matter in higher grades.

Last year, only 55 percent of Pinellas County third graders were reading on grade level, and nationally more than a third of U.S. fourth graders fall below the basic achievement level in reading.

Research shows that 88 percent of children who are not reading on grade level when they enter the first grade are still behind when they finish third grade. Children who fail to reach this critical milestone are more likely to falter in later grades and are four times more likely to drop out of high school.

Plus, adults who do not graduate from high school earn 75 percent less over their lifetime, leading to a future of challenges. While there is no single solution, we know that by addressing school readiness, summer learning loss, chronic absenteeism, and parent engagement early in a child’s life, communities can do much to help improve reading proficiency for young children.

The Juvenile Welfare Board (JWB) is a publicly funded, mission-driven organization with a 70-year history of improving the lives of children and families in Pinellas County through programs, partnerships and advocacy.  For more information visit JWBPinellas.org.

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