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View the story in the July 11, 2007 edition of Main Line Suburban Life by clicking on image below:

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Published: Wednesday, July 11, 2007

For Main Line students with nothing but time on their hands this summer, the Easttown Library and Information Center has a program that will keep them busy.And at the same time, help a good cause.

The library has teamed up with Main Line Animal Rescue (MLAR), First Priority Bank of Malvern, Corporate Planning Group, and Delaware Valley Financial Group, and is sponsoring Reading to Raise the Woof!

Reading to Raise the Woof! is a summer reading program where adults and children will be reading to help homeless animals. The program will run through Aug. 10 and sponsors will donate 50 cents for every book read this summer.

“We were given the goal of 11,000 books or $5,500,” said Becky Sheridan, the youth services director at the Easttown Library and Information Center.

More than 600 children and 35 adolescent volunteers are expected to participate in the program. The goal of Reading to Raise the Woof! is to help strengthen participants’ literacy skills while helping the community.

“There is repeated research that shows children who read during the summer maintain the reading levels they are at and in fact excel,” said Sheridan. “Children who don’t read over the summer experience what is called ‘summer slide,’sliding backwards in their reading skills.”

Additional goals of the program include raising awareness of the mission and work of MLAR and providing funding for MLAR’s Capital Campaign. MLAR is a local, non-profit animal shelter.

Each book that is read this summer will generate funds for MLAR and help build its new animal shelter in Chester County.

“A lot of people want to read to raise money for the animals, that’s the important part,” said Sheridan.

The mission of MLAR is to raise public awareness of the homeless animals and the benefits of adopting one. The rescue has been fighting for animal welfare for about ten years. They work to rescue and find homes for abused, unwanted, or abandoned animals. Unfortunately, the animals from MLAR are not always able to join the children at the Easttown library. Sheridan said that “the animals are not coming every day because MLAR works with rescued animals so they have to be very careful about what animals they bring.”

There will be various other programs offered through Reading to Raise the Woof! Among these will be Reading with Dogs, in which Pals For Life will visit the library. Specially trained canines will listen as children in grades one through three practice reading aloud. Another program, Writing with Animals, will pair children in grades three and above with animal representatives from MLAR.

“For the special program, Writing with Animals, MLAR will bring their animals to the library and we will have a group of kids that signed up who will write about the animals,” Sheridan said.

The children participating in this program will write down the stories of their paired animals with the intention of helping them find new homes.

Additional activities that will be provided include family movie nights, sky watching with Francis Murphy, teen pizza taste-off, chess time, a visit with Mother Goose, Harry Potter celebration, potions workshop, advanced potions workshop, Elmwood Park Zoo on Wheels, and story time.

“The main reason that we put so many resources and energy into our summer reading program is because it is to support the local educational institutions during the summer” said Sheridan.

The staff at the Easttown library is very enthusiastic about Reading to Raise the Woof! and hopes they will be given the opportunity to do something like it again in the future.

“We are all so excited about this program, I am certain that we would like to do something like it again next year so that we can continue giving back to the community” said Sheridan. “We do this to support the reading of the children. We are also very dedicated to making sure people of all abilities join our summer program.”

This story was originally published in the July 11, 2007 edition of Main Line Life Suburban Newspaper. It can now be found in their archives.

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