GREAT FALLS — Some elementary school students in Great Falls had a new book to read Wednesday, and may have had a better appreciation for reading thanks to the United Way of Cascade County.
The agency is conducting its annual "Read 2 Me" campaign this week.
Around 30 volunteers, including KRTV anchor Shannon Newth, spent time reading books to second-graders and talking about why reading is important.
The books are donated by the United Way and the kids get to keep them.
"Students who aren't reading at grade level by third grade are five times more likely to drop out. So we knew we had to start early. We want to get kids excited about reading and what better way than to give them a fun book and have volunteers come in,” said Kim Skornogoski, marketing director of United Way of Cascade County.
The campaign also kicks off the United Way’s reading challenge, which runs through mid-March.
Every time a student reads for 20 minutes, they can enter to win a prize.
“We will give out six Barnes and Noble gift cards at every school,” Skornogoski explained, adding the last time the reading challenge was held, kids collectively read for 78,000 minutes.