18 children win new bikes as part of ‘Books for Bikes’ summer reading program

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18 children won new bikes on Wednesday afternoon in Reading’s Oakbrook section after a summer of reading as part of Ready.Set.READ!’s “Books for Bikes” initiative.

Children living in the Oakbrook community who participated and regularly attended an eight-week summer reading program celebrated their accomplishments with a bike and helmet party for the final day of the program, courtesy of Customers Bank.

The Summer Reading Program is a collaboration to ensure young people receive a nutritious meal on weekdays and to address learning loss during the summer. Ready.Set.READ!, operated by United Way of Berks County, offers the reading portion of the program, along with program partners the Holleran Center for Community and Global Engagement at Alvernia University and the YMCA of Reading and Berks.

Other contributors include Berks Community Health Centre, Customers Bank, Reading School District (providing meals) and the Reading Housing Authority.

The program started in mid-June, offering activities such as reading books, writing stories, vocabulary acquisition, word recognition and learning games.

In total, more than 180 children participated in the program at four sites across the city, with 90 students receiving their new bikes earlier this month. 18 children received their “new wheels” Wednesday in Oakbrook from representatives of United Way and Customers Bank.

“Literacy is the foundation of lifelong learning, and connecting students with summer learning experiences was especially important this year with the disruptions to education caused by COVID. We are grateful for all the support provided by Customers Bank and program partners,” said Tammy White, president of United Way of Berks County.

In addition to receiving new bikes, the children also received school supplies from program partner Reading Truck Body.

Over the past 6 years, the Books for Bikes program has provided over 300 bicycles to children in the town of Reading.

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