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READ! By 4th Campaign Teams Up with Eagles Youth Partnership to Tackle Childhood Literacy

Wednesday, October 15, 2014   (0 Comments)
Posted by: Amy Seasholtz
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Eagles cornerback Brandon Boykin Becomes
Campaign’s First Literacy “Icon” to Boost Number of Philadelphia Children Reading at Grade Level by 4
th Grade

PHILADELPHIA (October 15, 2014) –The READ! By 4th Campaign announced today that Eagles Youth Partnership and Eagles cornerback Brandon Boykin will serve as a leading voice for the Campaign’s efforts to boost the number of children reading on grade level by the start of fourth grade.

“It’s important for us to invest in our future and our future is our youth,” said Boykin. “An essential tool for them is the ability to read and comprehend. In order to help the children of our city develop and succeed in school, we need to spend time reading with them and encouraging them, which is why I’m proud to be joining this Campaign.”

Boykin will serve as the Campaign’s first “Philadelphia icon” and will use his appearance on sports radio, and in the media to give tips on how parents can help their children become great readers. Boykin will use his social media platforms to encourage parents to “#DoThe22” by spending 22 minutes every day reading and interacting with their children. He will also work with Eagles Youth Partnership’s Book Mobile by making appearances at local elementary schools to promote the importance of literacy.

“The single best predictor of a child’s success in school is based on his or her level of reading, so it’s incumbent on us, as a community, to nurture a love for reading in them,” said Sarah Martinez-Helfman, Eagles Youth Partnership Executive Director. “Getting the children excited about reading is core to our mission at Eagles Youth Partnership, so we’re thrilled that Brandon has made a commitment to investing in our youth through this Campaign. We are looking forward to working with the School District of Philadelphia, Public Citizens For Children and Youth, and the Urban Affairs Coalition, who have taken a hands-on approach in focusing their efforts on this initiative.

To motivate children to read and spread the Campaign’s message, Eagles Youth Partnership will donate 12,000 posters promoting literacy and featuring Boykin to be posted in every kindergarten through third grade public school classroom, early childhood programs, recreation centers and libraries across the city. EYP will also continue their commitment to reach over 35,000 children each year through their Eagles Book Mobile, which travels to hundreds of schools and other locations around the city each year to encourage reading and to distribute free books.

More than half of Philadelphia students beginning fourth grade could not read on grade level in 2012. At Prince Hall Elementary School, the site of today’s press conference and last April’s annual Eagles Playground Build, the numbers are a little better, with 60 percent of third grade students reading at grade level.

“We are excited and honored that athletes like Brandon Boykin are willing to do what they can to help improve literacy in our schools,” said School District of Philadelphia Superintendent Dr. William Hite. “This Campaign and its supporters are what our schools need to help get students on track for academic success.”

The READ! By 4th Campaign is uniting the efforts of 50 public and private companies, non-profit organizations and public agencies, in a common strategy to double the share of fourth-grade students reading on grade level by 2020. Reaching that goal will ensure that nearly every child will enter fourth grade has the basic skills needed for school success.

The Campaign hopes to recruit more sports and entertainment icons to reinforce the importance of early literacy and the fun of reading.

Donna Cooper, Executive Director of Public Citizens and Youth, worked with the Urban Affairs Coalition and the 50 organizations to develop a multi-year strategy for the Campaign.

“Brandon is a hero on and off the field,” Cooper said. “I hope that other famous and successful Philadelphians will follow Brandon’s example and use their status to motivate our city’s children to read so they, too, can become successful adults.”

Sharmain Matlock-Turner, President and CEO of the Urban Affairs Coalition added, “We are thrilled that the Eagles Youth Partnership has made a commitment to this campaign. We know that athletes are some of our student’s first role models, and we hope that more athletes and others will step forward to carry the torch for literacy in our city.”

To learn more about the READ! By 4th Campaign, visit www.pccy.org/initiatives/read-by-4th.


CONTACT:
Anthony Hopkins, anthonyh@pccy.org 215-563-5848 x23 (w) or 484-433-7490 (c)
Anthony Bonagura, abonagura@eagles.nfl.com 215-339-6736
Chanice Savage, cnsavage@philasd.org 215-400-5227