As part of a nationwide program to improve childhood literacy and learning rates, volunteers from West Virginia University’s Read Aloud program will visit Skyview Elementary to read to students Wednesday (Dec. 10) from 1-3 p.m.

The “Read Aloud 15 Minutes” campaign was started in 2012 by the nonprofit organization, which works with organizations and businesses around the country to make it standard for parents and schools to read to their children at least 15 minutes every day.

College of Education and Human Services Assistant Professor Bernard Jones, Department of Special Education, has been working with Read Aloud West Virginia to recruit and train student volunteers to read in classrooms, daycares and after-school programs for 30 minutes to an hour on a designated Read Aloud Day.

The WVU Read Aloud initiative stems from a Fatherhood Field Day event held last year at Skyview in conjunction with WVU Extension Office and agent Eric Murphy, Jones said.

“We saw the need for more reading time and more involvement from role models,” Jones added. “Thus, the WVU Read Aloud initiative was created.”

Jones reached out to Mary Kay Bond, executive director of Read Aloud West Virginia, to helped launch the WVU Read Aloud initiative.

“I felt that if we could get university students trained to go into the classroom and read to students at least 15 minutes a week, it would be a life changing experience for both the elementary students and the volunteers,” he said.

The Read Aloud at Skyview is the first to take place in the area. In addition to the Read Aloud Day, Jones is also collaborating with Classic Cutz Barbershop and stylist Tina Pride of Fantastic Sam’s of Clarksburg to provide a Free Holiday Haircuts to Kids event at Skyview on Monday (Dec. 15) from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. A licensed cosmetologist and barber will provide free services to students who would like to have their hair cut and styled before taking school photos for the holidays.

“Skyview Elementary Principal Jennifer Cox and I were talking about the need for creating a holistic community partnership with local schools,” said Jones of the idea. “I spoke with her about Classic Cutz Barbershop owner Bilal Adams’ desire to give back to the community in the form of haircuts. Thus the idea of Holiday Haircut was born, giving the students at the school will be taking holiday pictures on that Wednesday, Dec. 17. I felt it was my role to facilitate this partnership as we [West Virginia University] commit ourselves to communities across the state.”



CONTACT: Christie Zachary, College of Education and Human Services

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