SARASOTA COUNTY – Sarasota County is once again going to bat with the Baltimore Orioles and the Big League Reader program to encourage youth literacy and foster a love of reading.
Children who sign up at a county library and read three or more books during February earn a free reserved grandstand ticket to the Orioles Spring Training game at Ed Smith Stadium on March 10.
Now in its seventh year, the Big League Reader program is a collaboration between the county’s public library system and the Orioles.
The first 100 kids that finish the program will also receive a free t-shirt when they return to the library and get their scorecard stamped. Big League Readers will also have the opportunity to enter their names into a drawing for the chance to throw out the first pitch of the game.
During the month of February, children ages 6 and older may visit any of the 10 Sarasota County Libraries and pick up a Big League Reader scorecard to participate. After finishing three books, readers return to the library to get their scorecards stamped and signed by a library staff member entitling them to a free reserved grandstand ticket.
This year’s game will be 1:05 p.m., Saturday March 10, at Ed Smith Stadium, 2700 12th St., Sarasota, with the Orioles taking on the Pittsburgh Pirates. All books must be read and scorecards stamped by Thursday, March 1.
Stamped scorecards may be redeemed for a grandstand ticket while tickets are available. An adult companion ticket will be available at a reduced rate. Seating is limited and stamped scorecards will be accepted at the box office until Wednesday, March 7.
“It’s a program that kids love,” said Sarabeth Kalajian, Sarasota County Libraries and Historical Resources director. “Most kids start out with the intention of earning a ticket to the game. But in the end, not only do they experience a great day at the ballpark, they learn that reading opens doors and leads to new adventures. We appreciate the Orioles for their generous support of this literacy partnership.”
Sarasota County libraries and the Orioles are looking forward to another successful season.
“The Orioles are proud to team with Sarasota County’s libraries to encourage youngsters to read,” said David Rovine, vice president of Orioles-Sarasota. “Youth literacy is a key community initiative supported by the Orioles, and we are excited to reward Big League Readers with a day of fun at Ed Smith Stadium.”
For more information, call the Sarasota County Contact Center at 941-861-5000 or visit www.scgov.net.
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