CHARLESTON, W.Va. – It takes a village, in some cases, to teach a child to read. That was the focus of the Leaders of Literacy Meeting held in Charleston Wednesday.
The West Virginia Department of Education’s Office of Early Education organized the event.
“We have so many children that are economically disadvantaged that are not performing the same as their peers who don’t struggle with that disadvantage,” said project coordinator Charlotte Webb.
Children who come from low-income families tend to receive less reading support before they start school, miss class more often than peers who come from financially stable homes and may not get the nutrition they need to help their growing bodies and minds.
Webb said it’s become such a problem in West Virginia it can no longer be just one family’s battle. The community must get involved. That’s why leaders in business, the medical field, civic organizations, the governor’s office and other concerned groups got together to talk about how they can better reach out to kids in need.
“What I found when I started in this position was there are a lot of good things going on to support literacy throughout the state. A lot of them are redundant. A lot of them are unknown by other people in the state,” explained Webb. “We would like for people to make those connections in order to maximize the impact they have on literacy.”
Webb said they’re focusing on young children.
“We’re talking to and about children from birth up to third grade knowing it’s going to take everybody in the community to support that.”