Refreshing reading

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Third-graders at Green Gables Elementary received some help from the Coca-Cola Corporation and Mile High United Way in starting their summer reading.

On May 14 representatives from Coca-Cola brought books to the school and gave them to students to take home.

Company employees donated the books.

“The kids were so excited, especially because they don’t often get books to keep,” said principal Kathy Chandler. “For them it was like they were getting Christmas presents.”

The book drive and donation came about with help from the Mile High United Way’s new Colorado Reading Corps, which is in 12 Jeffco Schools, including Green Gables.

The program focuses on “bubble students” according to DJ Close, program manager with the United Way.

“We have people who do one-on-one literacy interventions at these schools,” he said. “We’re really working on a full approach to this issue, which is how private companies like Coca-Cola became involved.”

Close said that United Way creates relationships with all kinds of groups, and sometimes it is these groups that contact United Way about wanting to do something for the community — as was the case with Green Gables.

According to Maria Ashley, manager for public affairs with Coca-Cola’s Denver office, childhood literacy is an issue of great importance to the company.

“We know that literacy is a big deal for Mile High United Way as well, so we worked with them on a goal to provide books for students after they complete the Reading Corps program,” she said. “We’re hoping this will help the students keep reading during the summer.”

More than 300 books were handed out, and students also were read a book on the importance of recycling.

The Colorado Reading Corps program is in its first year, and Close said that it will nearly double in size during the next year.