2023 Bunkers All Star Reading ProgramReady, set, read!

It’s that time again for kids, grades K-5, to get lost in a great book as the Woodpeckers return for their second annual “Bunker’s All Star Reading Program.”

The challenge is on for children in Cumberland and surrounding counties, beginning Monday, March 13. Participants are encouraged to read for at least 20 minutes daily, five times weekly for four weeks, to win big prizes for themselves and their school.

Using a special bookmark to keep track of their progress, once students reach a “home run,” they can exchange their tracker at the Truist Box Office at Segra Stadium for a free ticket to one of two home games: Friday, April 28 or Sunday, April 30.

Additionally, students can bring up to ten family members to purchase a $9 discounted ticket for that day’s game.

Students who complete the challenge will be invited to walk around the field in a Pre-Grame Parade before each of the two designated games to celebrate their awesome reading achievement.

“This is our way to promote reading and academic success in children K-5,” Landrey Young, the Woodpeckers’ Community and Media Relations Manager, told Up & Coming Weekly.

New to the program this year is the addition of home-schooled families, a change the Woodpeckers are “really excited” to implement.
According to North Carolinians For Home Education, as of the 2021-22 school year, there are over 5,000 registered home-schools between Cumberland and Harnett counties, with numbers growing steadily every year. A move to include this largely overlooked population ensures that outreach initiatives truly serve everyone in the community.

In addition to rewarding students for their hard work, the Woodpeckers have also included an incentive for participating schools this year. Students must include the name of their school in addition to their name and grade when turning in their bookmarks.

The top three schools with the highest redemption rate will receive a cash donation to their library courtesy of the Woodpeckers Foundation.

Several schools have already signed up for the program. Of the 20,000 bookmarks reserved for the event, fewer than 1000 remain as the calendar inches closer to the official start date. Students who already have their trackers are encouraged to start their reading adventure now — no need to wait.

The “Bunker’s All Start Reading Program” aligns with the community presence the Woodpeckers have built since they arrived in Fayetteville. School drives, family fun days and a calendar full of activities geared toward the children of Cumberland County gives insight into what the sports organization truly values outside of winning games.

“We are really dedicated to the youth and youth sports in our area,” Young said. “We want kids to be excited about reading, help support their schools, and it gives us an opportunity to become more connected to schools in the area.”

For more information about the program or to sign up, email Landrey Young at lyoung@astros.com by Friday, March 10.

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