Top 10 Reasons to Participate in Day of Action on June 17

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(Pictured above: Heart of Florida United Way recently held a book sorting party in preparation for its annual “Day of Action” to be held on Monday, June 17th. Staff and volunteers helped sort more than 5,000 children’s books that were donated to Day of Action, the one day a year aimed at community-wide volunteerism.)

Looking for a great volunteer opportunity and a chance to promote children’s literacy? Heart of Florida United Way is inviting volunteers to come participate in Day of Action on Monday, June 17th.

Day of Action is a community-wide volunteerism opportunity focusing on reducing the summer reading gap, which is the gradual decline of reading proficiency while children are away from the classroom. In an effort to encourage reading and foster literacy in youth, volunteers will engage in a variety of activities, including reading aloud, creating skits and playing rhyming games or “word BINGO.”

Volunteer projects will take place at partner agencies throughout the community, including Orlando Day Nursery Association, Winter Park Day Nursery, Schools and Communities: Together for Tomorrow, PACE Center for Girls and more. Volunteers can sign up online to participate at

Here are 10 great reasons why you should participate in Day of Action:

1. With a focus on education, Heart of Florida United Way is aiming to encourage reading and foster literacy in youth during its “Day of Action,” one day a year aimed at community-wide volunteerism.
2.  A recent study shows that while in middle-income neighborhoods the ratio of age-appropriate books per child is 13 to 1, in low-income neighborhoods the ratio is 1 for every 300 children.
3. Children already struggling to maintain grade-appropriate reading levels and/or those from lower socioeconomic backgrounds are often the ones most affected by summer reading loss.
4. Eighty percent of pre-school and after-school programs serving low-income students don’t have age-appropriate materials, according to Access for All: Closing the Book Gap for Children in Early Education by Susan Neuman.
5. By the end of fifth grade, low-income children are approximately 2.5 years behind their peers in terms of reading ability, primarily because of summer reading loss.
6. Students score lower on standardized tests at the end of summer vacation than they do at the end of the school year.
7. Studies from the University of California show that students could improve their reading skills over the summer if they were able to select books based on their interests and reading levels.
8. Out-of-school reading habits have demonstrated that even 15 minutes a day of independent reading can expose students to more than a million words a year.
9. Price is the number one barrier to book ownership. Due to cost, 94 percent of teachers nationwide use their own money to provide books and resources for their students.10.  According to an article from Scholastic, studies suggest that children who read as few as six books over the summer maintain the reading levels achieved during the previous school year.

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