Children in the third through fifth grades in the Panther Valley School District are encouraged to register for a "Reading Rocks!" program at the Panther Valley Public Library, 117 E. Bertsch St., Lansford.

The program starts Wednesday, Oct. 24, from 6-7 p.m., and runs through Wednesday, Dec. 5, except for Nov. 21. Deadline for registration is Friday, Oct. 12. To sign up, or for more information about this program, contact the library at (570) 645-3780.

"Reading Rocks!" is a joint effort of St. Luke's Miners Hospital and the Panther Valley Public Library. The program aims to boost literacy among elementary age students living in the Panther Valley School District.

St. Luke's Community Health Department Network Manager Hollie Gibbons and Marie Ondrus, president of the Panther Valley Public Library, are making the program available. Research has shown that literacy is the foundation of academic skills. A student who is not reading at grade level in third grade is likely to live, at best, in poverty and at worst, incarcerated.

Employees from St Luke's Miners will read with the children for 30 minutes. Additional volunteers from the hospital and the community will participate in a 30-minute activity which will include physical and "Live Your Life" activities.

The kickoff will include an assembly, along with books and home tracking sheets distributed to all participants. Each child will be assigned a reading goal for the end of the six-week period. Students meeting their personal reading goals and weekly participation in the Reading Rocks! program will be treated to a post-program celebration and a Reading Rocks! T-shirt.