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Gifts for reading

Ossining High School wrestling team helps sort books and gifts with Alana Sweeny, third from left in front.

Ossining school children found out that reading really does have its rewards when the United Way of Westchester and Putnam and Ossining public schools recently gave a gift to youngsters who pledged to read at least three books. 

As part of its ongoing effort to get children reading at grade level by third grade, United Way organized a gift giveaway at the Park Street School in Ossining on Dec. 12 with the help of Ossining schools and the district’s high school wrestling team. Testing indicates that only 38 percent of children in Westchester and Putnam are reading at grade level by the end of the third grade.

Ossining Director of Human Resources Joan Garone and Alana Sweeny discuss book selections with Ossining mom and children.

Children who took home three books were allowed to choose a gift. The wrestlers helped organize the books by age level and worked to help children choose a book that matched their interests. 

More than 60 percent of low-income households do not have one children’s book in the home,’’ said Alana Sweeny, president and CEO of UWWP. “Through our United2Read initiative, we are working to give children the tools they need to thrive later in life as part of our larger mission to reduce poverty and promote self-sufficiency.”

United Way and the school district launched a bookmobile to deliver books to the community. United Way is holding a book drive through January. New and gently used books can be dropped off at United Way at 336 Central Park Avenue in White Plains. 

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