WESH Meteorologists Tony Mainolfi And Amy Sweezey Help Kick-Off National ‘Read To Me’ Literacy Initiative And Issue Reading Challenge On Read Across America Day

March 9, 2015

New literacy campaign sponsored by SAG Foundation BookPALS and Rise Up Foundation encourages everybody to play a role in reading aloud to children

ORLANDO —On Monday, March 2, WESH meteorologists Tony Mainolfi and Amy Sweezey donnedCat-in-the-Hat hats in honor of Dr. Seuss’ birthday and read Oh Say Can You Say, What’s the Weather Today? to kindergarten and 1st graders at Princeton Elementary School as part of a new national literacy initiative entitled ‘Read to Me’ sponsored by SAG Foundation BookPALS and Rise Up Foundation.

‘Read to Me’ encourages everyone to play a part in reading aloud to children whether you are a parent or grandparent, sibling or neighbor, educator or friend. Research shows that reading aloud to children improves language, literacy and academic outcomes. ‘Read to Me’ also challenges everyone to pick up a book and read to a child in their life.

“We’re honored to join with broadcasters across the country to help kick-off the national ‘Read to Me’ campaign on Read Across America Day. I also loved that we could teach kids about the weather by reading Dr. Seuss,” said WESH meteorologist Amy Sweezey. “The more children are read to, the more excited they become to read for themselves, and I think it’s important we all do our part which is what ‘Read to Me’ is all about.”

Mainolfi emphatically added, “Reading is knowledge. Knowledge is power!”

In addition to Mainolfi and Sweezey, dozens of area performers who regularly volunteer as SAG Foundation BookPALS (Performing Artists for Literacy in Schools) read to classrooms in public schools throughout the district for the commencement of the ‘Read to Me’ campaign.

“We are at the very beginning of this journey. We hope the ‘Read to Me’ initiative ignites a movement across the country of reading aloud to children,” said Wendy Alane Adams, Founder of the Rise Up Foundation. “Together, we can ensure all children succeed not only in school, but in life, because it really starts with reading.”

“We’re grateful to the Rise Up Foundation, our partner in this new literacy initiative, the broadcasting community, our volunteer BookPALS, and our partner schools for participating in the ‘Read to Me’ kick-off this week and getting this campaign off the ground and into our communities,” said SAG Foundation President JoBeth Williams.

The national ‘Read to Me’ initiative kicks-off in seven cities this week:  Los Angeles, New York City, San Francisco, Boston, Providence, Phoenix and Orlando.

Everyone can take the national ‘Read to Me’ challenge by picking up a book and reading to a child in your life today. Share what you read, post a photo or video using #ReadToMe on social media. Tag @SAGFoundation @RiseUpFdn for retweets.

About the Screen Actors Guild Foundation BookPALS 
The Screen Actors Guild Foundation program BookPALS (Performing Artists for Literacy in Schools) is a volunteer children’s literacy program made up of more than 2,200 SAG-AFTRA performers who read aloud to 60,000 children in Title I public schools, libraries, hospitals and social service agencies every month. BookPALS operates in six branches nationwide. For more information or to volunteer for BookPALS, visit sagfoundation.org/bookpals.

About the Screen Actors Guild Foundation
This year, the Screen Actors Guild Foundation celebrates 30 years of providing vital assistance and educational programming to the professionals of SAG-AFTRA while serving the public at large through its signature children’s literacy programs. The SAG Foundation is a national 501(c)(3) non-profit organization, independent from the union, and relies solely on support from grants, sponsorships, and individual contributions to maintain its programs and create new ones. For more information, visit sagfoundation.org.

About Rise Up Foundation
Founded by Wendy Alane Adams, the Rise Up Foundation strives to improve the lives of children and families living in poverty and difficult circumstances. Rise Up supports literacy projects as a path toward improving the future prospects of children in underserved communities by making book donations, providing classroom support, and grant-making. In addition to literacy efforts, Rise Up works with organizations committed to defining and solving the problems that chronic poverty brings to children and their communities. For more information, please visit riseupfoundation.org, facebook.com/Rise.Up.Foundation and twitter.com/RiseUpFdn.