14 local elementary schools participated in the seventh annual Dunedin Blue Jays 'Bookin' It To The Ballpark' Reading Program sponsored by TD Bank in 2017. Recognizing literacy as a key skill necessary for academic achievement, the Blue Jays have encouraged and rewarded local students for reading with their annual reading program since 2011. This year, nearly five hundred elementary school students across Pinellas County combined to read for 146,035 minutes during the six-week program. In hours, those totals would equal 2,434 hours of reading, or over 101 full days spent reading by local students.
Participating students tracked their reading on baseball-themed bookmarks provided by the Blue Jays, advancing around the bases of a baseball diamond as they read outside of class to score runs for their class. Students who scored two runs for the class by reading 20 minutes at home eight times were rewarded with a ticket voucher to attend a Dunedin Blue Jays game. The class with the most runs scored at the conclusion of the program in each school won a pizza party provided by Jet's Pizza.
Dunedin Blue Jays players and mascot DJay visited participating schools during the program to read with and encourage students. Highlights included reading to and with the students, impromptu dance parties with DJay, question and answer sessions, and Spanish language lessons from bilingual Blue Jays players.
This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.