SHARP Literacy announced today the expansion of its popular August Reading Initiatives, MKE Kids Read: Books for Keeps and Summer Reading Challenge, to include additional locations and a permanent “Little Free Library.” The combined reading programs are aimed at keeping elementary school students reading throughout the month of August.
SHARP’s popular MKE Kids Read: Books for Keeps program is expanding this year to include library kiosks in 28 McDonald’s restaurants within the City of Milwaukee. These kid-sized libraries will be stocked with a variety of books for children to read and take home. Milwaukee Police officers will visit each of the restaurants as needed through August 19 to re-stock the mini libraries with a total of 4,000 books that span multiple reading levels from board books to teen favorites, including some books printed in Spanish.
SHARP’s Summer Reading Challenge invites youngsters from throughout the 10-county southeastern Wisconsin area to participate in a fun challenge that couples reading with healthy eating. With this program, students in the fifth grade or below can pledge to read a book before they return to school and receive a free, healthy snack of McDonald’s Apple Slices, Fruit & Maple Oatmeal, GoGurt, milk or juice. SHARP’s Summer Reading Challenge takes place August 1 – 7 in the lobby of 125 participating McDonald’s restaurants from 1-4 p.m, each day; children must be accompanied by a parent or guardian. Additional requirements can be found at www.sharpliteracy.org.
In tandem with the Summer Reading Challenge, students may also bring a book to 11 WaterStone Bank branches and receive a coupon for a healthy, McDonald’s snack. A complete list of participating McDonald’s restaurants and WaterStone Bank branches can be found at www.sharpliteracy.org.
New for 2016, SHARP has added a Little Free Library to its comprehensive August reading initiatives. The permanent mini library will be installed at the McDonald’s restaurant located at 1575 W. Washington Street on Milwaukee’s southside, with a goal of adding more Little Free Libraries to Milwaukee area McDonald’s restaurants in future years. The kid-friendly Little Free Libraries encourage young readers to borrow and read books year-round.
“By encouraging kids to read in August – through MKE Kids Read: Books for Keeps, the Summer Reading Challenge and our new Little Free Library – we are helping to bridge the education gap of summer and prepare them for school in September,” said Lynda Kohler, president and CEO of SHARP Literacy, Inc. “Instead of ‘catching up’ when school starts, many of these students will be exceeding expectations. Students that read year-round simply have a greater opportunity for academic success.”
The August reading initiatives coincide with SHARP Literacy’s eight-week summer educational program at nine urban locations throughout Milwaukee including: Neighborhood House; Journey House; Our Next Generation; COA-Riverwest; Milwaukee Christian Center; Silver Spring Neighborhood Center; Neu-Life at Gwen T. Jackson; St. Joan Antida High School; and Milwaukee Summer Reading Project. Through these community centers, learning centers and schools, SHARP will reach will reach more than 350 students with its educational summer program.