02BRONX, NY — On Saturday, May 14 families and students of all ages gathered at Macombs Dam Park to participate in South Bronx United’s 6th Annual Literacy Day, an event that coincided with the organization’s soccer Recreational Program.  The event, held to promote literacy and motivate youth to read, provided an opportunity for families to take home free books.

From Dr. Seuss to Aldous Huxley’s Brave New World, families could choose from a wide variety outlitday of the over 1,500 books that were donated. This year’s donors included Penguin Random House, Better World Books, Candlewick Press, Abbeville PressThe Association of American Publishers, Hachette Books, and Peachtree Publishers.  Literacy Partners, a nonprofit that carries out literacy and ESOL programs, also contributed by informing participants about the importance of families reading together.  As she was gathering books for her children, one mother said, “This is so wonderful, this is just great, I’m always pushing my kids to read, and now I have the books to help them do so.”

litday2Additionally, Literacy Day also incorporated reading circles as a part of the Recreation activities.  Before each game, players and coaches sat down to read a story and talk about its significance.  For younger groups, players read Goal by Mina Javaherbin.  The story follows a group of boys in a South African Township and the bullies who try to steal their only soccer ball.  Older groups read soccer stories from author Fred Bowen or an article from the Atlantic on how, in soccer, a player’s size doesn’t restrict him or her from playing.  Girls teams had the chance to read excerpts from Alex Morgan’s autobiography Breakaway: Beyond the Goal and her youth fiction series, The Kicks.  The reading circles were designed to show kids how reading can help kids relate to and understand the experiences in their own lives.

About the event, one of the SBU youth leaders, Matilda Kojac, who volunteered at the event said “I feel this is important because literacy is the foundation of learning. We are helping people obtain books in a world where not everyone has that opportunity.”

South Bronx United is grateful to all the donors and volunteers who helped make the event possible. Contact info@southbronxunited.org for information on how to support future events.

View more photos from the event on SBU’s Facebook page