During the first week of March, hundreds of volunteers helped students in 14 schools across the Wasatch Front build a passion for reading during the National Education Association’s Read Across America initiative.  

United Way of Salt Lake partnered with schools to place 241 volunteers in school across Granite, Canyons, and Davis school districts in their school to ready and help with literacy-themed activities with elementary students. Activities ranged from reading books to kindergarteners, playing gamed rooted in their literacy lessons for older students.  

Through this years event, volunteers gave more than 570 hours of their time to 16 projects. There were also more than $6,000 worth of books donated to UWSL community schools through the initiative.  

The national event, now in its 22nd year, is designed to encourage students to find the fun in reading. This message is especially important to the Title 1 elementary schools involved – where 70-90 percent of students receive free or reduced lunch. Nearly all these students face economic or language barriers, creating additional academic challenges for them to overcome. 

Schools that participated are UWSL Community Schools, and part of collaborative partnerships with Canyons School District, Granite School District and dozens of nonprofit organizations. Community Schools serve as a resource for students, families, and the broader community, creating a web of support focused on improving academic outcomes for low-income students. 

Below, check out a gallery of photos from our various Read Across America Day projects:  


By Kelly Schmidt, Content Manager at United Way of Salt Lake