At the College of Charleston we are working with a large group of partners on a community-wide initiative to embrace the Charleston County School District in its goal to increase the level of literacy among children in our community. The initiative has several components:
1) College of Charleston students and community members will be trained to lead literacy circles for elementary, middle, and high school students. We will use the College Reads! book — Three Cups of Tea by Greg Mortenson — that the CofC campus has selected this year. The book is available in a youth and a children’s picture book edition, making it an ideal choice. Our students will be equipped with lesson plans that will help them explore the themes of the book in a book club format with middle and high school students and through hands-on activities with younger students. They will also be encouraged to serve as role models for these youth, sharing with them their love of reading and the value they place on education. We have 14 schools that have signed on to participate so far!
2) Parallel to the work with children, we are also working on organizing family book clubs in the evenings and perhaps on Sunday afternoons. We believe that by encouraging families to read together, we can shore up the “in the trenches” work on specific reading skills that teachers do in the classroom every day.
2) Greg Mortenson will visit the College of Charleston campus on November 11th. At 5pm that day, he will do a public presentation in the Carolina First Arena. He’s a dynamic speaker with an amazing story. We think if youth and families can hear his story of building schools in Afghanistan and Pakistan, they will be encouraged to value their own education.
3) On November 6, the College is a sponsor of another wonderful opportunity — the Capital BookFest — a nonprofit, literacy-focused book festival with more than 80 authors, the launch of a new children’s book – Indigo Blume and the City Garden (the illustrator, JahSun lives in Charleston — the first 1000 people who come to the festival will receive a free copy). The festival will include book readings, writing workshops, music, and a family tent with all kinds of literacy-focused activities. The event is free and will be held in downtown Charleston. Our goal is to get as many families to the festival as possible! Learn more about this event at http://capitalbookfest.org/
How can you get involved?
1) Donate! Go to www.thirdcupcharleston.com. There, you can give as little as $10 or as much you want! Five Guys Burger and Fries has agreed to match every dollar up to $20,000.
2) Make a corporate donation and be included in all of the publicity about the initiative — contact Greg Pressley at firstname.lastname@example.org if you are interested and he will give you an overview of the opportunities for corporate sponsorship.
3) Volunteer for the kick off event on August 15 at the First Day Festival. There will be a “Reading Comes Alive” tent. Children will decorate the props to act out several different children’s books. If you would like to join us for this event, reply to FoldsBennettT@cofc.edu to get on the sign up list.
4) Attend the Capital BookFest on Nov. 6 — this will be a wonderful celebration of reading with books galore, authors, hands-on activities for children, and music.
5) Send this information to your friends and business associates. Getting the word out is essential to making the initiative a success!