United Way of Aroostook is excited to announce its partnership with Katahdin Trust Company to offer first graders throughout Aroostook County a backpack with free books to read over the summer.

United Way of Aroostook

Known as “The Summer Slide”, the two organizations have put together a program to encourage children to continue reading throughout the summer, strengthening their reading fluency.

“Thanks to Katahdin Trusts partnership, we are helping to ensure that our children are ready for reading and moving on to the next grade,” said Sherry Locke, Executive Director of United Way.  “We didn’t want the long summer break to be a chance for children to lose what gains they made throughout the school year. We wanted to curb the typical ‘summer slide’ that can occur.”

The program also serves as an extension of Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library which puts a free book in the hands of preschoolers each month from the time they are born until age five. In March, they sent out over 2,130 books.

School administrators throughout Aroostook have been invited to participate. Once the total number of students has been determined United Way and Katahdin Trust employees will deliver the books to each participating school in early June.  Backpacks will be provided to the children at no cost to them or their family.  Each pack will contain three books, some activities and other goodies.  Activities enclosed in the backpack will help children to engage with the books they were given.  For each completed activity sheet returned to the United Way, children will be given an opportunity to win one of several prizes such as a bike, puzzles, and games.

“We are so pleased to partner with United Way of Aroostook on this county-wide endeavor,” shares Krista Putnam, Vice President, Marketing for Katahdin Trust. “This project reflects Katahdin Trust’s commitment to serve families living in northern, central and southern Aroostook County. Our employees are also excited to work with United Way to help deliver these books into the hands of approximately 700 first-graders throughout the region."

At the end of the summer, United Way and Katahdin Trust will hold Summer Reading Celebration events in all three regions of the County so children can come celebrate the end of summer and the start of a new school year.

If you’d like more information about Summer Slide or the United Way, please contact their office at 764-5197.

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