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EY's Michelle Vopni and former Bachelorette Rachel Lindsay read to third-graders at Roger Q. Mills Elementary School.

Hundreds of United Way of Metropolitan Dallas volunteers read to children across North Texas, celebrating National Read Across America Day.  Presented by EY, the literacy effort shared books with over 8,000 students in 700 classrooms on Friday, March 2nd, commemorating the birthday of beloved children’s author Dr. Seuss.  Volunteers from EY, Texas Instruments, Celanese Corporation and other community partners encouraged young students toward a lifelong love of reading.

“We know that education is the first step in crossing the opportunity divide,” said Michelle Vopni, Dallas Office Managing Partner, EY.  “We’re proud to partner with United Way of Metropolitan Dallas in inspiring young students toward a love of reading, ensuring they have the chance to reach their full potential in school and in life.”

Read Across America Day is an annual reading motivation and awareness program established by the National Education Association that calls for every child in every community to celebrate reading.  In cities across the nation, elected officials, athletes and other influencers issue reading challenges to young students, recognizing the role reading plays in their communities.

“Motivating children to read is an important factor in student achievement and creating lifelong successful readers,” said Terri Grosh, WW Employee Engagement Manager, Texas Instruments.  “By reading aloud to them, we’re helping develop vocabulary, stimulate imaginations and expand children’s understanding of the world.”

At the event’s media site, Roger Q. Mills Elementary School in southern Dallas, volunteers and educators proudly wore red and white stovepipe hats while hosting a friendly Dr. Seuss-themed relay race for third-graders.  Dallas attorney and television personality from ABC’s The Bachelorette Rachel Lindsay engaged students during the relay and read her favorite Dr. Seuss book to them afterwards.

More than 20 schools across North Texas, including Uplift Education sites and schools in Dallas ISD, Plano ISD, and Irving ISD, also hosted volunteers.  As part of the United Way education initiative, more than 1,000 books were donated to local school libraries.

“We know that 54 percent of third graders in our community cannot read proficiently,” said Susan Hoff, Chief Strategy, Impact and Operations Officer, United Way of Metropolitan Dallas.  “Reading to children is a critical component in their early language and literacy development, laying a lifelong foundation for learning.”

Dr. Seuss Reading Day is part of the Unite for Change series of volunteer projects presented by Texas Instruments designed to help United Way achieve 10-year community goals centered around improving education, financial stability and health.  The literacy effort also aligns with Grow South, Grow Strong, an initiative supported by Celanese Corporation designed to increase student success by expanding educational opportunities in southern Dallas.