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Annenberg School of Communication and Journalism University of Southern California

USC Good Neighbors Funds New Literacy Program At Nearby School

Reading Makes a Difference Literacy Program kicks off at Weemes Elementary School near USC campus. 

A three-week Read-A-Thon began on Wednesday at Weemes Elementary School. The event will benefit patients at the Children's Hospital of Los Angeles. 

The students' efforts will help provide toys and books to patients.  Among the books is the light-hearted tome The Jester Has Lost His Jingle, written by David Saltzman.

Saltzman, son of USC Journalism Professor Joe Saltzman, died of Hodgkin's disease in 1990 at 22-years-old. 

His book, a New York Times best-seller, was inspired by Saltzman's senior project The Jester at Yale. He graduated in 1989. 

The Jester & Pharley Phund was founded in 2000 in response to the tremendous national reaction towards Saltzman's book. 

Low-income students have read more than 31 million pages to aid sick children since The Phund's Reading Makes A Difference program launched in 2001. 

700 elementary students gathered on Wednesday to learn about The Jester and how they can help ill children through reading. 

Volunteers from USC Readers Plus, through the Dana and David Dornsife College of Letters, Art, and Sciences Joint Educational Project, are partnering with The Phund to tutor Weemes Elementary students. The project is also supported by the USC Good Neighbors Campaign.

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