United Way’s Virtual Book Drive gives San Diego Children Summer Reading Books


Fourth grade is a critical year. It is when children switch from “learning to read” to “reading to learn.” At least that should be the case.

With over a quarter of the county’s fourth graders not reading proficiently and over half of San Diego’s students considered “economically disadvantaged,” United Way of San Diego County will host its second annual Virtual Book Drive for local children up to age eight, to foster a love of reading and learning

for long-term success.

United Way’s Virtual Book Drive has been extended through April 5, with the goal of purchasing 48,000 summer reading books. The bilingual books cost only $2.50 each on average, and individuals and companies are encouraged to make any size donation at the online “bookstore” at

or by texting


to 41444.

“Without access to books during the summer months, many of these families would not have any reading material,” said Shaina Gross, United Way’s vice president, impact strategies and mobilization. In 2012, the Virtual Book Drive raised enough funds to purchase 21,500 bilingual books for low-income children throughout the county.

Proceeds from the book drive will buy five different books:

For children up to age 3

• “Are You My Mother?”/ “Eres Tú Mi Mama?”

• “Gossie”/ “Gansi”

• “A Birthday Box”/ “Mi Caja de Cumpleaños”

For children ages 4 to 8.

• “Big, Big Wall”/ “No Puedo Bajar”

• “Daniel’s Mystery Egg”/ “El Misterioso Huevo de Daniel”

Each child will receive their own book, a bookmark with an inspirational note and bilingual tips parents can use to encourage the love of reading. The books will be distributed throughout the county.

A donation of $20 will buy books for eight young San Diego readers.

Donations of $50, $100 or even $1,000 will make an even bigger impact and create more happy readers.

The drive will culminate with United Way’s annual Day of Action, sponsored by Geico, on Friday, June 21, where volunteers will help package the books and write notes to kids.

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