We can all agree that reading is a life skill and something that plays a very important role in our daily routine. When we imagine children without books, we think of villagers in faraway places. What if we told you there are thousands of homes, as well as schools and libraries right here in Atlanta that are struggling to keep age-appropriate reading material on the shelves for kids. On today’s Around Atlanta episode, FeFe Handy, Founder and Chief Executive Director of Page Turners Make Great Learners joins us to talk about their mission of supplying children with proper reading material and helping them fall in love with reading.
Page Turners Make Great Learners is an Atlanta-based nonprofit organization that promotes children’s literacy through innovative approaches. One approach is through a core program known as Read-a-Thon. Read-a-Thons are when local professionals from popular companies such as Mercedes Benz, UPS and Coca-Cola visit schools throughout metro Atlanta to read books and talk about why reading matters in their personal and professional lives. Hundreds of professionals such as lawyers, authors, doctors, journalists and more all have a unique story to tell and each story allows children to see the world from a different angle. “We want to help kids connect reading to the real world and the workplace,” states Handy.
Other programs offered through the organization are their virtual book club where over 550 elementary-age students attending Atlanta Public School participate in reading activities. Each student receives two books to keep and to help build their own library at home. Teachers, parents and students are encouraged to read the books at their own pace, discuss the story and participate in fun activities that help deepen their understanding of the text. There is also a Summer Book Club program to help bridge the gap to lessen learning loss when school is not in session.
Statistics show that 60 percent of low-income families do not have age-appropriate books in their homes, and many libraries are lacking the materials they need to succeed. Handy gave a great example with a popular children’s book series, Diary of a Wimpy Kid. “We find that kids will have series one of the books, but are missing two, three and four,” she said. “What we do is add supplemental support by supplying five series so that no kid is on a long waiting list for the book they want and love.” Page Turners Make Great Learners works hard to provide resources for children, families and schools. “This year, we are stretching our footprint in Clayton County and partnering with 15 schools,” said Handy. “Schools reach out to us because they need books or help with literacy initiatives, this lets us know that there is definitely a need for organizations like ours.”
Later this year, Page Turners Make Great Learners will be hosting the amazing award-winning author, Jeff Kinney (Diary of a Wimpy Kid). This is a pristine opportunity for schools and families to learn more about how Page Turners assists in the community, and also a great time for communities and companies to get involved by hosting their own book drive.
More information, pictures and inside details can be found by tuning into the podcast with the link above or by visiting www.pageturnersgreatlearners.org.
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