Area students can use their reading to benefit adults who need help overcoming illiteracy.

The York County Literacy Council is inviting school students from across York County to participate in the 2014 Buck A Book Reading Program, which will run from Monday, Jan. 20, to Sunday, Jan. 26.

The week-long reading activity benefits the council's adult literacy programs, including reading, English as a Second Language and GED classes, said Rita Hewitt, the council's community relations manager.

"Some adults might not have done well in school or dropped out of school and now they need help with reading," she said. "We have adults who speak other languages and they're learning English. Our programs are based on functional literacy, that includes math, health, financial and work place literacy."

Program details: For Buck a Book Reading Program, students obtain sponsors who will decide how much money they want to donate per book read by participating students.

Based on the amount of money they raise, the students can earn prizes for themselves and help their school earn books for their libraries.

Student prizes include a skate pass and skate rental at the York City Ice Arena, two York Revolution baseball tickets for field box seats, and two tickets to Hershey Park.

While the Buck a Book program offers prizes students can earn, the program's main purpose it to motivate students to read and to help others with literacy needs, Hewitt said.

The York County Literacy Council has been running the Buck a Book reading program for more than 21 years, she said.

Last year, close to 3,000 students from 14 school districts helped raise about $80,000 for the council's adult literacy programs, which are free and confidential, Hewitt said.

The council also trains tutors to assist adult students.

Helping adults: For the 2012-13 year, 350 literacy council volunteers provided more than 15,000 hours of service to assist 966 people with literacy needs, she said.

There are 40,000 adults in York County who are functionally illiterate, according to Hewitt.

When telling school students about the Buck a Book Reading Program, the literacy council makes sure the students understand they are helping a nonprofit organization provide literacy lessons that help improve adults' quality of life.

"Some kids are surprised that there are adults who don't know how to read," Hewitt said. "We tell (students) they're lucky to be in school and they need to get an education while they can."

-- Reach Eyana Adah McMillan at emcmillan@yorkdispatch.com.