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Read across Liberty reaches 3,000 children this year
read across liberty
Volunteer Lora Gunsallus with Vaden Nissan reads to students in Stacy Scoggins’ Kindergarten class at Joseph Martin Elemenary School Thursday for Read Across Liberty. - photo by Asha Gilbert

“It’s been about 15 years,” Liberty County United Way Program Coordinator Cole Seal said. “Jenn picked it up from the Kiwanis Club. Since then, we’ve placed about 40,000 books with students.”

Read across Liberty, an initiative to provide a book to all elementary students across 14 schools in Liberty County, including Fort Stewart and a Pre-K class at Hinesville United Methodist Church. The students reached will be from Pre-K to first grade, Seal said. This year’s Read across Liberty was sponsored by Vaden Nissan of Hinesville.

“There are 153 classrooms that signed up, and we needed 175 volunteers to read to students,” Seal said. The book that the volunteers read was called “Cats are Cats.” The volunteers will leave a bag of books afterwards so every student in the classroom leaves with a brand-new book, Seal continued.

United Way purchases the books they distribute through a national book bank called First Books. Books are offered for just cents, allowing the United Way to purchase roughly 3,000 books for the 2019 Read across Liberty.

“This is my third year organizing the program,” Seal said. “My very first thing I did when I was hired here, my first day was the week of Read across Liberty here, so I spent my day sorting thousands of books.”

The program is incredibly important, Seal said, because studies have shown that books being physically in the home are a huge indicator of academic success. The lack of access to bookstores in the community, it’s important to get books into the hands of students.

“It’s such an easy program to sell,” Seal said. The volunteer signups opened Feb. 25, and filled up almost completely in just two or three weeks, Seal continued.

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