'Read Around the Campfire(TM)' Pilot Program Debuts Across the Country

First Book, a national children's
literacy organization, and Disney have joined forces to launch a new program
this summer to deliver the magic of reading to children from low-income
families nationwide. The program, called Read Around the Campfire, will
provide three new books per camper to select camps around the country that
serve disadvantaged children. The objective of Read Around the Campfire is to
help the children minimize the loss of reading skills often experienced over
the summer months.
Read Around the Campfire is being introduced as a pilot program in 2005.
The program will provide more than 20,000 books to 6,700 children this summer.
The books will be incorporated into the camp program and then taken home by
the children to keep. To enhance the program's success, the camps will
receive storytelling tips to share with the counselors in addition to the free
books. The storytelling tips are designed to encourage camper involvement,
give ideas on how to extend the storytelling time to other activities at camp
and make the stories come alive. Read Around the Campfire is made possible
through the generosity of DisneyHand, worldwide outreach for The Walt Disney
Company, in partnership with Disney Publishing Worldwide, which will supply
the books.
"We are excited to be working with Disney this summer to share the magic
of reading with thousands of children," said Kyle Zimmer, president of First
Book. "During summer vacation, children from low-income families experience
disproportionate decreases in reading achievement. By offering hands-on
reading practice outside of the classroom in a fun and creative setting, we
are hoping to help children improve their reading skills," Zimmer added.
"The camps we're working with often provide the only opportunity that
thousands of disadvantaged youth have to attend a summer program," stated
Kathy Franklin, vice president, Disney Worldwide Outreach. "One of the best
and most memorable parts of the camp experience is sharing campfire stories.
This program will extend the magical experience of campfire storytime into
meaningful learning experience."