Pennsylvania Masons Team Up with Raising A reader to Provide Literacy Support to Hundreds of Children in Harrisburg School District
HARRISBURG, PENNSYLVANIA – More than 600 kindergarten students in the Harrisburg School District will each have access to approximately 100 books to read at home and help develop lifelong literacy habits, thanks to Pennsylvania Masons’ support of the Raising A Reader program. On Wednesday, Sept. 27, at 9 a.m., a kick off for the program will be held at the Harrisburg High School at 2451 Market Street in Harrisburg.
Representatives from the Masons, Raising A Reader, Harrisburg School District (including students) and state and local government representatives will be in attendance.
Children who participate in the program receive a Raising A Reader signature red book bag with several age-appropriate books to take home and read with their parents. Every week the bags will be rotated into children’s homes, with approximately 100 books being brought into the child’s home every year. The program will also provide support and guidance to help families develop, practice and maintain home-based literacy habits.
“As Freemasons, we understand the value of family and the importance of education,” said Raymond Dietz, Grand Master of Masons of Pennsylvania. “We also believe in helping those who are less fortunate; nearly 80 percent of the families we are helping through this program are at or below the poverty level. Partnering with Raising A Reader allows us to commit our resources to something that is family-oriented and important to the community.”
Pennsylvania Masons have donated $270,000, which has been used to bring the Raising A Reader program to approximately 2,500 children and their families since 2016. The program has been implemented through more than 60 public elementary school classrooms across Pennsylvania.
“The Masons of Pennsylvania have enabled us to put a program in place that will have a significant impact on the literacy of children in Harrisburg, and throughout Pennsylvania,” said Gabrielle Miller, Ed.D, president and CEO of Raising A Reader. “Thousands of children will have access to books and, more importantly, their parents will have the tools necessary to teach their children to become readers.”
Freemasonry is the oldest, largest and most widely known fraternity in the world, based on the cardinal virtues of brotherly love, charity and truth. Its roots can be traced back hundreds of years in Europe. Today, there are more than 105,000 members statewide, 1.2 million members nationally and 3.5 million members worldwide. Freemasons contribute more than $2 million a day to charity. In Pennsylvania, the Masonic Charities include the Masonic Temple; The Masonic Library and Museum of Pennsylvania; the Masonic Villages in Dallas, Elizabethtown, Lafayette Hill, Sewickley and Warminster, Pa.; and the Pennsylvania Masonic Youth Foundation. More information can be found at PaMasons.org.
Raising A Reader is a 501(c)3 charitable organization dedicated to helping families develop, practice and maintain literacy habits for children ages 0-8 that are critical for a child’s success in school and in life. The program is evidence-based, with more than 32 independent evaluations showing that Raising A Reader significantly improves language and literacy skills, cognitive development, communication and comprehension skills, school readiness and social competence. Raising A Reader is implemented through a network of community partners that comprise more than 2,700 locations across the country including public school systems, libraries, afterschool programs, community agencies and other organizations both public and private. Headquartered in Redwood City, California, Raising A Reader was founded in 1999 and has served more than 1.5 million families nationwide. This year, Raising A Reader has launched Raising A Reader 3.0m to double its impact to 3 million families and children expanding to all 50 States and Puerto Rico.