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150 Chicago families put family first at Read & Rise event

Books bring parents and kids together at Bethune School of Excellence

Books, magazines, journals and newspapers are common household items for many Americans, but for children in low-income communities, access to reading materials is severely limited. In fact, there is only one age-appropriate book for every 300 children in low-income areas in our country.* To help bring books to more homes in Chicago, University of Phoenix and Scholastic hosted Read & Rise, a weeklong event promoting family literacy at Mary McLeod Bethune School of Excellence in Chicago, Ill.

The week started with a Reading Rally where Chicago Bears cornerback Charles Tillman and University of Phoenix volunteers presented $5 gift certificates to the school’s more than 400 students. Students were invited to pick books of their choosing and build their personal libraries. The following day, Connie Lorthridge, assistant dean of Education Programs for the University, hosted a workshop for teachers and gave them each $25 certificates to buy books for their classrooms. The Read & Rise event concluded with an event for the whole family at which students and parents wrote original stories and built their own books.

Throughout the week, University of Phoenix volunteers logged 64 hours of service time and the book fair generated $4,620 Scholastic Dollars for Bethune School of Excellence.

*Neuman, Susan B. and David K. Dickinson, ed. Handbook of Early Literacy Research, Volume 2. New York, NY: 2006, p. 31.

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