‘Read To Me’ an Interactive Reading Initiative for Hardeeville and Ridgeland Elementary Kindergarten Students

The Jasper County School District (JCSD) Instructional Team has implemented several programs and initiatives to support and increase the literacy levels for students within the district. Educators understand how early reading is linked to kindergarten readiness, which affects third-grade proficiency, which is highly associated with high school completion. To increase literacy proficiency a recently approved initiative scheduled to be implemented during the 2019-2020 school term is the 'Read to Me' project.

In partnership with the University of South Carolina Beaufort (USCB) and United Way of the Lowcountry, JCSD representatives recently met and discussed several programs. The group decided the 'Read to Me' literacy project would be most beneficial for kindergarten students.

The goal of the 'Read to Me' Project is to introduce students to an innovative type of learning through interactive reading. The USCB and United Way of the Lowcountry donated books and a variety of literacy activities for each kindergarten teacher. The literacy resources will enable students to experience the interactive reading project three days a week for 15-20 minutes for approximately 22 weeks.

During the 'Read to Me' project, teachers and students will participate in learning sessions around their interactive reading assignment. The learning session may include explaining the illustrations in the book, discussing how the book reminds the child of something in their life or maybe identifying unique words or new ideas. At the end of each week, students will receive a free copy of the book to take home to read with their parents and siblings.

"We are grateful to have this continued partnership and support from United Way and USCB. The goal of the new 'Read to Me' initiative will promote a lifetime of literacy by equipping students with the literacy tools to be successful in and out of school," said LaQuandra Stevenson Ed. D., Early Learning & Literacy Coordinator.

The 'Read to Me' project will provide additional volunteers in the early learning grades.  This project will also afford the three organizations to implement literacy initiatives that benefit the students and families of Jasper County.

Superintendent Rechel Anderson Ed. D. said, "Many stakeholders are not aware of the support and resources of the United Way of the Lowcountry and the University of South Carolina Beaufort.  This literacy initiative shows how several entities work to together for the families of the Lowcountry."

The 'Read to Me' initiative meeting included Superintendent Rechel Anderson Ed. D., Jasper County School District, Bethany Marcinkowski, United Way of the Lowcountry and Vice President of Beaufort-Jasper Education Impact Committee, LaQuandra Stevenson Ed. D., Early Learning & Literacy Coordinator and Member of Beaufort-Jasper Education Impact Committee, Renata Thompkins Ed. D., USCB Education Professor,  Principal Renata Green, Ridgeland Elementary School Principal, and Principal Marlyn Westbrook Ed. D., Hardeeville Elementary School Principal.