Changing the next chapter of readers

Blacksburg, Va., February 26-Champions are Readers: The group reads with elementary school children each week to help them learn to read while having fun. Photo Becky Shumar

Blacksburg, Va., February 26-Champions are Readers: The group reads with elementary school children each week to help them learn to read while having fun. One in four children in America will grow up illiterate. Photo Becky Shumar

 

by Becky Shumar–

Learning how to read is an important skill a child must acquire in order to become a functioning member of society. It puts children on a path to reaching their full potential.   But it’s a problem that still prevalent in the United States today. According to dosomething.org, one of four children in America will grow up not knowing how to read.

While on a college campus, it is easy to overlook the issue. Students read book weekly to keep up with classes. But Anna Dean and the sister of Pi Beta Phi want to change the literacy statistics. They visit a local elementary school once a week for a program called “Champions are Readers (CAR)”. It is a community service group that aims to help children learn to read, and have fun in the process.

“It’s meant to be kind of like a fun way to get kids excited about reading,” said Anna Dean, the former organizer of CAR.

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Blacksburg, Va., February 26-Champions are Readers: Anna Dean reads with children every Friday to inspire them to love books.  Photo Becky Shumar

The group reads books with the children every Friday and comes up with fun activities to get them excited about reading. With every turn of a page, Dean hopes the children will be inspired by her love of literature. It’s a pastime she says shaped her success.

“I think that without that I wouldn’t be who I am today, and so being able to inspire kids to love reading is really important,” said Dean.

Not being able to read impacts a person’s ability to stay informed by reading the news. Doing important activities like filling out a job application can be a daunting task. Almost every socio-economic issue in the United States can be connected to low literacy. Dean hopes through CAR she can help fight illiteracy, one page at a time.

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