ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. — The Tampa Bay Rays have been putting on a show all season long this year by being the best team in the MLB.
But now, the team also wants to take some time to show they can also be great off the field.
This summer, the Rays, along with Suncoast Credit Union, will launch their 16th edition of Reading with the Rays - Read Your Way to the Ballpark, which is an incentive-based reading program to encourage students from Pre-K to 12th grade in the Tampa Bay area to read for 24 hours during the summer break.
Students who take part in the program will be awarded prizes after reaching certain goals, including two free tickets to a Rays game, the team said in a news release Friday. Participating libraries will keep track of each student's progress in the program.
“We are proud to help empower children in our communities through reading, and to support their personal growth so that they are better prepared for life,” Executive Director of Suncoast Credit Union Foundation Kourtney Berry said in a statement. “This program encourages children to keep up with their reading goals during their summer break, and we look forward to seeing thousands of hours logged this year as a result of this program.”
Kids who wish to take part in Reading with the Rays can pick up their program game card at a participating library or can also download one by clicking here.
The Rays also announced outfielder Luke Raley will read several books to third graders on Wednesday, May 24 at Campbell Park Elementary School in St. Petersburg. The Rays will also provide Papa John's pizza, a Kona Ice Truck, balloon artists, face painters and a special appearance by Rays mascots as part of the school's end-of-year field day.
Over 500,000 children across nine Tampa Bay area counties have spent more than 2.85 million hours of reading over the summer break since the program launched in 2007, according to the team.
To learn more about the program, click here.
The Rays are set to launch a new Community Library Program, which will provide free books to families and children in the local area. Fans who wish to support the program can donate new children's books for ages 5-13 on Sunday, May 21 outside of Gate 1 in Lot 7 and outside of Gate 4. Each group of fans that donates five or more books will receive a ticket voucher valid for two Lower Reserved tickets to a regular season home game this year.
To learn more about the Rays' Community Library Program, click here.