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www.wmfd.com - The Big Red Bookshelf kicks off its second year of providing free books to young children in Richland County with an event on Martin Luther King Junior Day. }}" />

   
 
 
Big Red Bookshelf kicks off January 20

Story By: Brigitte Coles

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  Original Published: 1/8/2014

The Big Red Bookshelf kicks off its second year of providing free books to young children in Richland County with an event on Martin Luther King Junior Day.

Children and their families are invited to the Mansfield Area YMCA Monday, Jan. 20 from noon to 2 p.m. to hear a reading of “Bear Snores On,” receive a free copy of the book as well as enjoy pizza and snacks. The Mansfield Senior High basketball team and Mansfield Maverick cheerleaders will be on hand to read to the children.

The Big Red Bookshelf collects new and gently used books appropriate for children ages infant through third grade at book drives throughout the year. The books are given away via several Big Red Bookshelves in Richland County including the Mansfield Area YMCA, Richland County Job and Family Services, Mansfield/Ontario/Richland County Health Department, Women, Infants and Children program and the Bellville Neighborhood Outreach Center.

Children who struggle to read are more likely to drop out of school. Just having books in the home increases literacy rates. According to the 2010-2011 Kindergarten Readiness Assessment for Literacy, 43 percentof children entering kindergarten in Richland County needed intense instruction and 32 percent needed targeted instruction related to literacy skill development.

The Big Red Bookshelf is an ongoing project of the United Way of Richland County and is made possible by volunteers from the Kiwanis Club of Mansfield, Richland Bank, Richland County Youth and Family Council. Financial support for the MLK Jr. Day event is being provided by ServeOhio, Ohio’s Commission on Service and Volunteerism.

Robert Maxey, executive director of the United Way said, “I appreciate the community pulling together to improve literacy.”

If you, your company, church or organization would like to host a book drive or donate money for new books; please call the United Way at 419-525-2816.

   
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