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PHOENIX -- The countdown is on to the holiday season and the Valley of the Sun United Way is looking for volunteers to read to school children and help create unique winter memories by giving back the community.

The Million Minutes Volunteer Reading Challenge, spearheaded by the United Way's Women's Leadership Council, has a bold goal: To read one million minutes by May 2014.

"You can join an existing team or form a new team and find place to read in the community," said Janet Garcia with United Way. "We have suggestions on our website or you can read at a location of your choice. Parents may also log the minutes spent reading to their children at home."

According to the United Way, volunteer readers are more important than ever, as a new law takes effect this school year mandating third graders be held back if not at an acceptable reading level by the end of the school year.

For more information, go to

Sandra Haros , Reporter

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