LEXINGTON, Ky. (February 20, 2015) — Teach For America announced today the launch of the Kentucky Literacy Campaign. Created to promote reading comprehension and spotlight Kentucky’s rich literary tradition, the campaign will provide books to over 700 students across Eastern Kentucky.
Through March 16, individuals can support the campaign by visiting YourSchoolsYourCall.org to vote on a single question: What’s the one book all Kentuckians must read? All voters will be entered to win a Kindle. At the conclusion of the campaign, Teach For America will purchase sets of the winning book for its 24 partner schools in Eastern Kentucky.
Over 750 Kentuckians have already participated in the campaign, including Jane Beshear, First Lady of Kentucky.
“I have been an advocate for literacy efforts throughout Kentucky since my husband served as Lt. Governor in the 1980s,” said Mrs. Beshear. “The Teach For America Kentucky Literacy Campaign strengthens our existing efforts, such as the Kentucky Literacy Celebration Week (March 16-20), by putting books directly in the hands of students and instilling in them a life-long love of reading that will translate to success in the classroom and beyond.”
Kentucky native and Teach For America–Appalachia’s Executive Director Will Nash also sees the campaign as an opportunity to reinforce the importance of literacy in life-long learning. “We aim to provide our students with an education that sparks their minds, and gives them the skills needed to succeed in a 21st century economy. That starts with reading and comprehension,” said Nash.
Teach For America–Appalachia’s educators work in 18 school districts spanning 250 miles across eastern Kentucky. Alongside committed veteran educators and community members, Teach For America–Appalachia’s corps members seek to provide greater educational opportunities for over 3,000 students. Nash believes that collaboration is critical to preparing students for success both in and after college, saying, “The Kentucky Literacy Campaign is showing the power our state’s collective impact can have.”
The Southeast Kentucky Chamber of Commerce is among Teach For America’s many literacy campaign partners. “Teach For America is partnering with schools and communities to help improve the quality of education for children across eastern Kentucky. Equipping the next generation with critical skills like literacy creates greater opportunities for our state and its students,” said Jacob Colley, president and chief executive officer for the SEKY Chamber. When asked what book he’s voting for, Colley said, “The Giver.”
Supporters of the Kentucky Literacy Campaign are encouraged to share their vote for Kentucky’s number one book on social media using #1BookKY. Supporters who have weighed in with their votes on social media include the University of Kentucky’s 12th President Dr. Eli Capilouto, Kentucky Wildcats’ Head Coach John Calipari, and gubernatorial candidates Hal Heiner and Attorney General Jack Conway.
Columbia Gas of Kentucky is the campaign’s title sponsor. Other organizations offering support to the literacy campaign include the Downtown Lexington Corporation, the East Kentucky Expo Center, Goodwill Industries of Kentucky, and the Blue Grass Community Foundation.
Teach For America works in partnership with communities to expand educational opportunity for children facing the challenges of poverty. Founded in 1990, Teach For America recruits and develops a diverse corps of outstanding college graduates and professionals to make an initial two-year commitment to teach in high-need schools and become lifelong leaders in the movement to end educational inequity. Today, 10,600 corps members are teaching in 50 urban and rural regions across the country while more than 37,000 alumni work across sectors to ensure that all children have access to an excellent education. For more information, visit www.teachforamerica.org