June 25, 2013
United Way Day of Reading A Success

Day of Action-Day of Reading, A Community Wide Reading Project 

The United Way of Henry County and Martinsville held their third annual Day of Reading today in partnership with United Ways across the country.  Day of Reading is a community wide reading project to help promote the importance of early childhood education and in particular the importance of reading to children. 


“We are excited to once again hold our Day of Reading project and to get more people involved in early childhood education,” stated Tiffani Underwood, Executive Director of the United Way of Henry County and Martinsville.  “This project is a fun way to get people involved and really emphasizes the importance of reading to a child.”


The United Way partnered with local day care providers, summer programs, the library, Piedmont Arts Association, Children’s Medical Center and others across Martinsville and Henry County to coordinate the Day of Reading project.  Over 50 volunteers visited organizations throughout the day to read to over approximately 1,000 children in our area.  In addition, each child received a free book to take home to encourage the children to continue to read at home. 


“Early reading skills are crucial for young children to be ready for school.  Reading to children helps children learn how to read” stated Melanie McLarty, Interim Director of Smart Beginnings MHC, an Early Childhood Initiative at the United Way.  Reading books aloud every day with children not only builds language and pre-literacy skills, it exposes them to new ideas, builds their social skills, and inspires them to have fun and become lifelong learners. 


Statistics show that the most important predictor of on-time high school graduation and academic success is reading at grade-level by the end of third grade. Children who are not reading at grade –level by that time are more likely to drop out of high school or have academic failures. United Ways across the nation are working together to combat high school dropout rates.


“Our hope is that the volunteers enjoyed their reading experience so much today, that they will want to continue to read to children throughout the year and become even more engaged in our early childhood education efforts,” stated Underwood.