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United Way and local YMCA partner up for National Summer Learning Week

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WILKES-BARRE, LUZERNE COUNTY (WBRE/WYOU) — Summertime means frequent trips to the pool or park for many children. A local organization is teaming up with the Wilkes-Barre Family YMCA to incorporate a little summer reading fun as well.

School may be out for the summer but that doesn’t mean that the books should be stored away until the fall. The United Way of Wyoming Valley teamed up with the Wilkes-Barre Family YMCA at Coal Street Park for National Summer Learning Week, designed to encourage children to continue reading during the summer months.

“If we can keep kids active and learning during the course of the summer, they can start the next school year more prepared to learn and reading is a big deal,” United Way President/CEO Bill Jones said.

The event started off with storytime, as children gathered around to listen to food and fun coordinator Lennae Thompson read a book. She said not only do the kids smile when they get together, but the parents are happy too.

“Parents just love having somewhere for the kids to go and have someone to play with them and be involved in their kids’ lives. It’s an overall great thing we got going on,” Thompson said.

After storytime, the children are able to dig through the books to find ones they like.

“We see a lot of children eager to pick out a new book. Many children in our community do not have access to free books. That’s why we deliver this program,” Community Impact vice president Jennifer Deemer said.

During the summer months when kids aren’t in school, children can have a learning loss called summer slide. This yearly book distribution is hoping to keep their minds thinking during the summer and ready to learn for the return to school.

“The United Way of Wyoming Valley is really fighting for children to be proficient readers by the end of third grade,” Deemer said.

The program is offered for children from kindergarten to grade 12.

“The books were generously donated to the United Way of Wyoming Valley as part of our annual children’s book drive,” Deemer said.

Last summer, 16,000 books were distributed to at least 3,600 participating children.

And for some kids, like Colbe Fowler, it’s just another summer full of fun!

“An awesome summer,” Fowler said.

This is the third year the United Way of Wyoming Valley has partnered with the Wilkes-Barre Family YMCA for National Summer Learning Week.

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