Summer reading program backed by Tobias Harris goes online due to virus

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By KYW Newsradio 1060
PHILADELPHIA (KYW Newsradio) — Sixers forward Tobias Harris may be playing basketball soon. But for now, he's been reading.

“Throughout this pandemic, I've read a bunch of new books. And I know the power of it. I know how fun it is to be able to sit back and read a book. And as a kid, I didn't have that feeling,” he said.

Harris joined state Sen. Vincent Hughes on a Zoom call to announce that the senator's eight-year-old program, called Read to Succeed, will be held online this season due to the coronavirus.

“Because of the pandemic, we had to move. We have to change the play, if you will, and go to this virtual concept,” Hughes said.

Harris has donated $14,000 to support the four-week program, which is for kids in kindergarten through third grade. Program literacy specialist Asmeret Easley said it’s all about repetition to prevent the so-called summer slide.

“The brain needs to continue to practice,” she said, “just like our bodies need to continue to move around, or we slow down.”

Registered students will receive a contactless delivery of five books, among other supplies.