On June 20 —Summer Solstice, the longest day of the year—more than 1,200 central Iowans will volunteer at sites across the community for Literacy Solstice, the signature event of United Way’s READ to SUCCEED campaign.

Volunteers will start the day at sunrise, 5:40 AM, and conclude at sunset, 8:50 PM, at 24 different locations in Polk, Dallas and Warren counties. Children, young professionals, business leaders and senior citizens will cut, color, glue and assemble literacy kits to help children become successful readers.

A literacy kit is a carefully selected children’s book, with a custom-crafted activity perfect for one-on-one interaction between an adult volunteer and the child reader. Literacy kits focus on skills young children need when learning to read while, at the same time, diving deeper into the book and its themes. Literacy kits are used by volunteer readers and children in the classroom, afterschool programs, in child care centers and for building a library at home.

The READ to SUCCEED Campaign is a ground-breaking, community-wide, grassroots awareness and action campaign to help our kids get the skills they need to succeed in school and beyond. Currently one child in four does not read proficiently by the end of third grade. READ to SUCCEED has set a goal so 90 percent of children are reading proficiently by the end of third grade by the year 2020. This recently launched multi-year campaign is the signature initiative for United Way’s 100th year, selected for its ability to make a lasting impact on today’s children and generations to come.

This one factor, the ability to read proficiently at the end of third grade, has long-term implications for individuals and for our community. Students who can’t read at grade level at the end of third grade are 4 times more likely to drop out before they graduate.

From kindergarten through the end of third grade, students learn to read. After that, they must be able to read to learn. Reading is the fundamental skill for the rest of their school years and for life after school.

What you can do?

Even if you don’t have children of your own, you can make a difference for central Iowa kid. Become a Power Read volunteer, and complete reading activities with students K-5 each week of the school year.

Learn More About POWER READ

Literacy Solstice is sponsored by:

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Shirley Burgess

About The Author: Shirley Burgess

Shirley Burgess is the Volunteer Engagement Officer for United Way of Central Iowa.