St. Luke's University Health Network

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Reading Rocks Goals met by Donegan Students

St. Luke's and Lehigh University Celebrate Donegan Students who Met 'Reading Rocks' Goals

Bethlehem, PA (1/25/2010) - More than 130 students from Donegan Elementary participating in Reading Rocks! - a joint program sponsored by St. Luke's Hospital and Lehigh University - were invited to attend the Lehigh-Lafayette men's basketball game held Saturday at Stabler Arena. Also attending as guests of St. Luke's Hospital were parents, guardians and teachers. The event provided an opportunity for students to celebrate their achievements with their parents. The students being honored successfully met their Reading Rocks! goal for the Fall Semester. Students and parents also were treated to a light dinner. Honored students also received a Reading Rocks! T-shirt and a book bag. The student in each participating grade who read the most books was recognized on the basketball court at half-time, and additional students participated in several fun events during the game.

Donegan serves a low-income, bilingual population of 475 students in grades K – 5. Eighty percent of students qualify for free-reduced lunch; and 44 percent perform below grade level. The inability to read has a potentially devastating life-long effect on children. Students not reading at grade level in Grade 3 are statistically likely to live their lives, at best, in poverty and, at worst, incarcerated.

All books for Reading Rocks! are provided through book drives conducted by St. Luke's/Lehigh University and other community organizations. Many of the Donegan students do not have books in their homes. St. Luke's employees collected/donated 2,000 books to support the Winter 2009 Reading Rocks! and an additional 600 books were provided primarily by Cops 'n' Kids. More than 10,000 books were collected for the Fall 2009 Reading Rocks!, including a substantial donation of books from employees of St. Luke's Hospital and Border's Book Store.

Reading Rocks! is led by Dr. Bonnie Coyle, Sue Schantz and Karen Boksan from St. Luke's Hospital and Roseann Corsi from Lehigh University Athletic Department, in conjunction with Sonia Vazquez, principal, Donegan Elementary School.