Spring Cleaning for a Cause

April 3, 2015

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Spring is here and with it comes the desire to freshen up your living space and reduce clutter. More than 70% of Americans participate in some kind of spring cleaning ritual. But once the cleaning is done and the clutter removed, many people battle with what to do with the leftover clothes, household items and books.

Heart of Florida United Way has an annual book drive to benefit children and can be a huge help to those looking for a new home for their unwanted, gently used books.

The Day of Action Book Drive was started to fulfill an unmet need in the Central Florida community. Summer reading loss is a real issue facing school-aged children. Students can lose up to 25% of their reading proficiency over the course of the summer.

Having access to and reading just 4 books can prevent the summer slide and even improve reading levels.

Income and the expense of books is the largest barrier to book access, and children are often unable to make it to a library due to their parent’s work schedules or transportation issues.

In middle-income neighborhoods, the ratio of books to children is 13 to 1. But in lower income neighborhoods, the ratio is a staggering 1 book for every 300 children.

This causes significant impact to classroom instruction, taking up 22% of classroom time and taking up to a month of instructional time to make up the reading proficiency lost.

By cleaning out your bookcases and donating your old favorites, you can help children improve their literacy and set them up on the path to success.

You can help by hosting a book drive or just bringing in your books to Heart of Florida United Way’s office May 25-29.For more information, visit the HFUW website.

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Women’s Leadership Council Fights Summer Reading Loss and Provides 10 Title-I Orange County Elementary Schools with Online Reading Program

May 8, 2014

myon photo for blog- DSC_0194_cropped“School’s out for summer!” But, that doesn’t mean that Central Florida students should slack. Did you know that students can lose up to 25% of their reading level over the summer? But, reading just four books over that time can prevent the summer slide, and can actually increase reading levels.

Access to age-appropriate reading materials is a major barrier to reading, especially for low-income students. In fact, a recent study found that in middle-income neighborhoods, the ratio of age-appropriate books is 13 books for every child, while in low-income neighborhoods, it is 1 book for every 300 children.

United Way’s Women’s Leadership Council recently announced a partnership with Orange County Publicmyon photo for blog- DSC_0089 Schools to bring the myON® reading program to 10 Title-I schools. Funds raised by HFUW’s Women’s Leadership Council at the annual Women’s Leadership Luncheon were used to provide the one-year subscription to select schools. In addition to giving approximately 6,000 students 24/7 access to a digital library of more than 5,000 books in over 50 categories and genres, myON® provides metrics that assess reading progress and project reading growth.

Schools participating in the myON® program include:

  • Eccleston Elementary
  • Fern Creek Elementary
  • Grand Ave. Elementary
  • John Young Elementary
  • Lee Middle School
  • Lockhart Elementary
  • Tangelo Park Elementary
  • Winegard Elementary
  • Wyndham Lakes Elementary
  • Zellwood Elementary

myon photo for blog -DSC_0122Watch a video from the announcement held at Tangelo Park Elementary.

In addition, United Way will be distributing books on June 23 as part of Day of Action, a community-wide day of volunteerism focused on fighting summer reading loss. There are many ways to get involved! See a list of impact projects for individuals or groups.

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