Here are ways to help your kids read this summer.

Need some ideas on how to help your kids find the time (and the books) to read for sheer enjoyment this summer?

Here are a few suggestions.

Avoid summer slide

United Way of Erie County wants to prevent the summer slide of children losing interest in reading and the resulting decline in skills when school starts again in September. The nonprofit started the Summer Slide Book Drive, a twofold program that collects donated books and distributes them to 14 schools in the region. 

In 2016, the community collected 6,000 books for the first Summer Slide Book Drive. This year, United Way has a goal of 10,000 books that will be distributed in May. About 30 manufacturers, businesses, retailers, financial groups and more are all-in on this one, and you can drop off books at 35 locations scattered around the county. For more information on participating companies and drop off locations, visit  

You can donate books suitable for children ages 5 to 14, who are in kindergarten through eighth grade. But hurry, the program ends April 30 so the nonprofit has time to distribute the books that kids can take home and read over the summer months.

Need some ideas on what to give? A wish list is posted at, and you can purchase books from Amazon and send them directly to United Way at 420 W. Sixth St., Erie, PA 16507. For more information, contact Chantelle Carter at or 456-2937, ext. 232. recommends that students read every day with books, magazines, newspapers, weather reports, recipes — almost anything. And, reading just six books during the summer will help struggling readers maintain skills. Reading out loud is also critical to learn pronunciation and accuracy. It also improves comprehension skills.

Join the Imagination Library

The organization will mail its 400,000th book in July. You can help this program succeed.

Started by the Dollywood Foundation, this program encourages adults to read to children. And, United Way of Erie County created Reading Buddies, a program that helps parents improve and help develop a love of reading among kids. 

To register for Imagination Library, visit Each month, a book is mailed to a registered child from birth to age 5 in Erie County. 

To participate in the next Reading Buddy offering, join the event on Saturday, May 6, from 10:30 a.m. to noon at Girard Alliance Church. The session offers training for parents and other adults and activities and snacks for kids. It also includes tickets to the performance of "James and the Giant Peach" at the Erie Playhouse. 

The Erie County Public Library

No matter what age your kids are, you can find an activity at one of the library branches in Erie County that will give your kids the urge to read. Toddler Time and Story Time take place at the main library daily and at some of the branches. 

Want to read to a pet? Some of the libraries offer special programs in which young readers learn to read aloud to dogs from Therapy United. It gives students confidence to read out loud and gives dogs some undivided attention. Edinboro and Fairview branches have regular programs. 

You'll also find science, technology, engineering, art, and math programs, and while you're there, you can pick up a book. Stop in or call for more information:

•Millcreek Mall" 2088 Interchange Road, Suite 280, 451-7084

•Fairview Lincoln Community Center: 1255 Manchester Road, 451-7085

•Iroquois Avenue Branch Library: 4212 Iroquois Ave., 451-7082

•Edinboro Branch Library: 413 W Plum St. Edinboro, 451-7081

•Raymond M. Blasco, M. D. Memorial Library: 160 E. Front St., 451-6900


Six independent public libraries include:

•Albion Area Public Library: 111 E. Pearl St., Albion, 814-756-5400

•Corry Public Library: 117 W Washington St., Corry, 814-664-7611

•McCord Memorial Library: 32 W. Main St., North East, 725-4057

•Rice Avenue Public Library: 705 Rice Ave., Girard, 774-8286

•Union City Public Library: 2 Stranahan St., Union City, 814-438-3209

•Waterford Public Library: 24 South Park Row, Waterford, 796-4729

Can't get to a library? The Bookmobile will be out and about throughout April, May and June. Find out more by emailing or calling 451-6935.