Children receive free books for Read Across America Day. Photo credit: Airman 1st Class Donald Hudson, Air Force

United Way of San Diego County and Warwick’s in La Jolla on Monday will begin a monthlong virtual book drive for San Diego County children in need.

Local companies and individuals are encouraged to donate new children’s books via sales at Warwick’s or sending cash through the United Way for the purchase of books.

Organizers hope to collect 1,500 new books. Due to COVID-19, used books cannot be accepted.

They cite statistics that indicate a significant number of students are falling behind in reading, a situation worsened by the pandemic:

  • 45% of the county’s third graders fall short of reading at grade level – a number recorded before COVID-19 limited schooling to virtual instruction.
  • Health orders could mean students are lagging by up to nine months behind by June – or for students of color, even 12 months.

Studies show that improving youngsters’ access to books at home has “a significant impact on their long-term learning, according to the United Way, yet many students lack age-appropriate books of their own.

– City News Service contributed to this report.

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