‘Of Wine & Words' Benefits Efforts to Inspire a Love of Reading

WASHINGTON — Bidding on a baseball stadium suite could help inspire children in challenging situations who have a love of reading.

A game at Nationals Park is among the auction items at Friday’s Of Wine & Words benefit and auction for The Reading Connection.

The local nonprofit based in Arlington, Virginia, works in shelters, affordable housing and transitional housing regionwide, offering book giveaways, volunteer readers and workshops for parents on how to make reading a family routine.

“Every week, every child gets to take home [and keep] a brand new book that they choose,” said Catherine Keightley, executive director of The Reading Connection. “We’re really trying to create libraries in their homes and get their parents involved with their love of reading.”

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A volunteer with The Reading Connection works with a child at the Wedgewood Apartments in Annandale, Virginia. (Photo courtesy Judy Hijikata)\n"},{"type":"photo","media":"

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Auction items at this year’s event include a vacation in Los Cabos, Mexico; a Napa, California, wine experience; and a Nationals Park suite to see the Washington Nationals. (Photo courtesy Dave Scavone\/Scavone Photography)\n"},{"type":"ad","media":"

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The group gets no federal funding and depends solely upon the community, Keightley said.

“Part of what we’re raising funds for is to expand our program selections throughout the area,” she said.

Keightley quoted multiple statistics that show how life changing a love of reading can be.

“By fourth grade, if a child doesn’t love reading, they’re 40 percent less likely to finish high school,” she said.

Also, kids who love reading are more likely to graduate from high school and college and make more money over a lifetime.

Friday’s event is set for 7 p.m. to 10 p.m. at the historic Whittemore House, 1526 New Hampshire Ave. NW. (A VIP reception and tour of Whittemore House begins at 6 p.m.)

Tickets — which are available online — are $150 for the general public and $100 for volunteers.

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