Goodwill Celebrates National Family Literacy Month with New Program

Staff Report From Georgia CEO

Thursday, November 1st, 2018

Goodwill of Middle Georgia and the CSRA will celebrate National Family Literacy Month in November with the launch of a new program called “Good Readers.” This new effort will work to engage young minds and foster a lifelong love of reading in children.

As part of the Good Readers program, local community leaders who serve as Goodwill Ambassadors will read aloud to children at various Goodwill locations each Saturday in November at 11:00 a.m. Story time will take place for an hour, while parents are free to browse the store or listen with their child. After the reading, each child will receive a free book to take home.

Not only is reading together a source of joy for parents and children, studies show that children exposed to books at a young age are much more likely to do better both academically and behaviorally. Reading aloud is the single most important activity for the development of literacy skills – helping them develop word mastery, grammatical understanding, and narrative comprehension – and is critically linked to future success.

The launch of the Good Readers program is on the heels of the latest Annie E. Casey Foundation national study, which finds that 80 percent of lower-income fourth graders and 65 percent of all children in the state of Georgia are not reading proficiently. Goodwill plans to participate actively in literacy efforts throughout its service area.

Although improvements have been made over the past decade, reading proficiency remains unacceptably low in an economic environment that requires increasing levels of education and skills for family-sustaining jobs. By 2020, 65 percent of all jobs in the economy of the United States will require postsecondary education and training beyond high school; the country is expected to fall 5 million short of workers with postsecondary credentials needed to fill available jobs. Children must gain requisite reading skills to be successful in school for their future educational and economic prospects to be bright and our economy to be strong.

“Unfortunately, poverty and illiteracy are closely connected: parents in low-income families are less likely to buy or have access to books and more likely to have limited literacy skills themselves,” said James J. Stiff, president of Goodwill of Middle Georgia and the CSRA. “The goal of our Good Readers program is to provide additional support and assistance for low-income children and their families as well as the gift of books of their own.”