Children's Reading Foundation announcement

The initial Board of Directors of The Children’s Reading Foundation of Georgia, Inc., met Tuesday at the Brunswick library to begin the operations of the new nonprofit based in Glynn County. Pictured from left to right are Melinda Ennis Roughton, Chief Communications & Marketing Officer; Linda Muir, President & CEO; Linda Vinson, representing The Children’s Reading Foundation national headquarters; Geri Lynn Mullis, Treasurer and Sung Hui Lewis, Vice President.

The Children’s Reading Foundation national headquarters announced this week that its newest affiliate, the Children’s Reading Foundation of Georgia, has officially formed in Glynn County.

The Georgia affiliate’s vision is to ensure that 90 percent of Glynn County students are reading on grade level by 2025 and that 90 percent of kindergarten students are beginning with essential school readiness skills by 2023.

The local affiliate’s leadership team hosted its first meeting Tuesday. The nonprofit’s board officers include president, CEO and board chair Linda Muir, vice president Sung Hui Lewis, secretary Markisha Butler, treasurer Geri Lynn Mullis and chief communications and marketing officer Melinda Ennis-Roughton.

“To make sure that children are ready for kindergarten, we will collaborate with others in the community who share our vision to engage with Glynn County parents and caregivers and the community at large to encourage them to read with children and assist them in learning early literacy skills in the years before they begin kindergarten,” said Muir, in a press release. “If children are ready when they start kindergarten, they have a much better chance of reading on grade level by the end of third grade. Research shows that third grade reading proficiency is one of the most important predictors that a child will go on to graduate from high school and enjoy better life outcomes.”

The new affiliate plans to form the “Lit 3 Alliance” with Glynn County Schools, United Way of Coastal Georgia and other strategic partners. The goal will be to increase awareness throughout the community about the importance of reading with children every day from birth.

Sung Hui Lewis, assistant superintendent for Glynn County Schools, announced a “Lit 3 — Ask Me” initiative in June. Lit 3 — Ask Me aims to engage community members and groups of all kinds in the overall effort to improve early literacy in this area.

That announcement led to the creation of this new affiliate.

“A special thanks to Mrs. Lewis and her team for creating this impactful initiative that highlights the absolutely critical need of making sure that all of our children are reading well by the end of third grade,” said Virgil Cole, Glynn County Schools superintendent, in a statement. “What a worthy issue to focus our work around as a system and community.”

The national headquarters for the Children’s Reading Foundation is located in Kennewick, Wash. The Georgia-based affiliate will bring the national nonprofit’s early literacy and learning resources to Glynn County.

Those include a “READY! for Kindergarten” school readiness program, through which three workshops are hosted a year for parents and caregivers of children ages birth to 5. The workshops teach effective ways to nurture language, reasoning, social and emotional skills.

Another program the affiliate plans to offer locally is a “READ Up” summertime reading program that provides free reading events and activities for children ages birth to 8.

The foundation’s message is to “read together 20 minutes every day.”

“For nearly 25 years, we have been honored to work with local champions like the Children’s Reading Foundation of Georgia to encourage parents and caregivers, support schools and facilitate community involvement,” said Kristin Norell, national foundation chief executive officer. “We believe the collective efforts of the Georgia chapter and local partners will greatly improve the futures of all Glynn County children.”

The Children’s Reading Foundation of Georgia will officially launch on Jan. 20, 2020, to showcase its slogan and to celebrate the initiation of its programs, as well as the formation of the Lit 3 Alliance.

Those wishing to get involved can contact Muir at linda@read20georgia.org.

The local affiliate’s website will launch soon at Read20Georgia.org.

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