Lehigh Valley Reads Launches Million Minute Challenge to Increase Childhood Literacy

Allentown, PA – When a child is reading on grade level by the end of third grade, they are up to 13 times more likely to graduate high school. Lehigh Valley Reads is mobilizing our community to join the largest Lehigh Valley-wide reading challenge—the Million Minute Challenge in partnership with Crayola and Truist, to support our goal of building a community of readers to make the region a place of opportunity for all.

“The Million Minute Challenge is a powerful call to action to UNITE our community around the vital importance of reading,” said Jill Pereira, Vice President, Strategic Partnerships at United Way. “Together with teachers, families and partners throughout the Lehigh Valley, we’re proud to champion third-grade literacy, a cornerstone for future success.”

The Million Minute Challenge is a digital based, community mobilization event focused on promoting reading with a collective goal of reading 1,000,000 minutes or more throughout the month of March. Participants can read anywhere – on lunch breaks, in waiting rooms or after homework, and can read anything – comic books, poems, novels or online articles.

“At Crayola, we believe in the transformative power of literacy and the importance of community collaboration,” said Karen Kelly, Manager, Executive Communications, DEI, and Community Engagement at Crayola. “The Million Minute Challenge embodies our commitment to supporting students, families and partners in advancing childhood literacy across the Lehigh Valley.”

Lehigh Valley Reads is a regional literacy campaign, powered by United Way of the Greater Lehigh Valley, to ensure all Lehigh Valley students read on grade level by the end of third grade by 2030. Third grade is the pivotal moment when children transition from learning how to read, to reading to learn, and it is the most important predictor of high school graduation and future life success.

For this year’s National Reading Month, volunteers will read to students while mascot Corey delivers reading materials, supplies and more to seven United Way Community Schools: Paxinosa Elementary School in Easton, Donegan Elementary School and Marvine Elementary School in Bethlehem, Brigadier General Anna Mae Hays Elementary School, Central Elementary School and Ramos Elementary School in Allentown and Panther Valley Elementary School in Nesquehoning.

“Reading not only fosters a thriving community but also inspires us to reach our fullest potential,” said Khushboo Jain, Director, Community Schools Network at United Way. “Our mission is to equip every student in the Lehigh Valley with the essential tools to read on grade level by third grade, empowering them to unlock endless opportunities for success.”

Everyone is invited to participate in this regional campaign to collectively read 1,000,000 minutes or more throughout the month of March. Families, individuals, schools and groups can pledge their minutes online through March 31 at Registration is free and open to all ages.