United Way of Lincoln and Lancaster County to give away 4,000 books

LINCOLN, Neb. (KOLN) - The United Way of Lincoln and Lancaster County is working to make sure every kid is learning to read. United Way Worldwide, along with Scholastic, have given the United Way of Lincoln and Lancaster County 4,000 books to distribute in the region.

For the young children in a class at Community Action Partnership, they have yet to really master reading. That is exactly why the United Way wants to put a free book in their hands.

"The children are learning all the time," said Janelle Maybee, with the Community Action Partnership. Maybee said learning isn't limited to just a school building. "There's so much more they can learn at home in the every day things they do," said Maybee.

A third-grader's reading proficiency is one of the earliest predictors of success in school.

"That literacy learning level is very critical to their graduation rates," said Michelle St. Clair, a volunteer with United Way.

The Nation's Report Card website shows that 69 percent of 4th graders are reading at or above a basic level. That places Nebraska significantly higher than the national 4th grade public average of 65 percent.

"If you can't read you can't do spelling, you can't read math problems," said Maybee. "It just affects everything as you grow up in your academics."

United Way and its 16 community partners are trying to reach children at a young age- one "Clifford the Big Red Dog" book at a time.