DALLAS – United Way of Metropolitan Dallas will host United Way Reading Day, presented by EY, celebrating diverse readers while bringing communities together through the joys of reading. The event will engage hundreds of United Way volunteers in reading to children in more than 300 classrooms across North Texas to inspire early literacy. On Friday, February 28, volunteers from EY, Texas Instruments and other community partners will join celebrity readers in encouraging more than 5,000 preschool and school-aged scholars toward a lifelong love of reading and learning. The effort commemorates National Read Across America Day, an initiative created by the National Education Association in 1997 to motivate kids to read.
“Learning to read is the foundation of a good education,” said Michelle Vopni, Dallas Office Managing Partner, Ernst & Young LLP. “For the past few years, EY has been proud to partner with United Way of Metropolitan Dallas to present this meaningful program to inspire young students to read, develop vocabulary skills and spark imagination. When we read with children, we can show them reading is important, valued and fun.”
United Way volunteers will also stock the shelves of classroom libraries to put opportunity in the hands of all North Texas students. New and gently used books collected during United Way drives will be donated to area schools to spark a passion for reading in the next generation.
When kids have the skills they need to succeed in school–like reading at grade level–it empowers them to reach their full potential. In 2018, the most recent year available, studies found that more than 55% of students are not meeting grade level performance for third grade within United Way of Metropolitan Dallas’s service area. Students who don’t read proficiently by third grade are four times more likely to drop out of high school.
“By engaging students in books, we can give them a stronger start to achieve success in school and in life,” said Jennifer Sampson, McDermott-Templeton President and CEO, United Way of Metropolitan Dallas. “Showing up and showing kids their community cares gives them the opportunity and confidence to flourish and thrive. Together with the help of committed volunteers, we’re strengthening foundations and broadening horizons to set up our community’s children for successful futures.”
United Way Reading Day will feature books that students can see themselves reflected in, as well as books that allow readers to see a world or character that might be different than them. Featured books to be read aloud to students include Pete the Cat: I Love My White Shoes, by Eric Litwin and Hey, Wall: A Story of Art and Community, by Susan Verde. Tolerance and acceptance are significant themes in both books. Readers who feel included, recognized and part of the world are engaged readers.
“A child’s horizon can be broadened by opening a book and reading to them,” said Susan Hoff, Chief Impact and Strategy Officer, United Way of Metropolitan Dallas. “Students imagining themselves in books is one of the keys to early literacy, as it enables children to see themselves as heroes of the story. When children fall in love with a book, they fall in love with reading as well. They learn that they belong in the world and the world belongs to them.”
To participate in United Way Reading Day, volunteers can visit UnitedWayDallas.org/ReadingDay and sign up.
About United Way of Metropolitan Dallas: United Way of Metropolitan Dallas is a community-based social change organization that puts opportunity in the hands of all North Texans. Working with our determined supporters, we lead the charge to improve education, income and health—the building blocks of opportunity. We invite all change-seekers in our community to Live United to achieve lasting results right here at home. To give, advocate or volunteer, visit www.UnitedWayDallas.org.
About EY: EY is a global leader in assurance, tax, transaction and advisory services. The insights and quality service we deliver help build trust and confidence in the capital markets and in economies all over the world. We develop outstanding leaders who team to deliver on our promises to all of our stakeholders. In so doing, we play a critical role in building a better working world for our people, for our clients and for our communities. EY refers to the global organization, and may refer to one or more, of the member firms of Ernst & Young Global Limited, each of which is a separate legal entity. Ernst & Young Global Limited, a UK company limited by guarantee, does not provide services to clients. For more information about our organization, please visit www.ey.com.