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Date Posted: 08/08/2017
August 8, 2017
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Brandi Hinkle, DHS Deputy Chief of Communications
Arkansas Department of Human Services
501-683-5286 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Statewide ‘VolunteerAR Read Across Arkansas’ Family Service Day Aug. 12
The Arkansas Department of Human Services (DHS) Office of Communications and Community Engagement encourages families and individuals to volunteer as part of “VolunteerAR Read Across Arkansas” on Saturday from 10 a.m. to noon at the Dee Brown Library, 6325 Baseline Road in Little Rock. Youth ages 3-12 and their families also are invited to listen to stories at Dee Brown Library during that time.
Volunteers can sign up by going to www.VolunteerAR.org/search and searching for “Read Across Arkansas.” There you will find the volunteer opportunity at Dee Brown Library as well as opportunities at other libraries across the state.
Read Across Arkansas is a Family Service Day project of the Arkansas Department of Education Reading Initiative for Student Excellence (R.I.S.E.) Arkansas program, AR Kids Read of Central Arkansas, the Arkansas State Library, and DHS.
Studies show children who are not reading proficiently by third grade can fall behind since they may have trouble comprehending more complicated reading material for history, English, science, and even word problems in math. Students who do not master reading by the end of third grade are less likely to graduate high school and pursue higher education and are more likely to be incarcerated or live in poverty.
Just 31 percent of fourth graders in Arkansas are reading on grade level, according to the National Assessment of Educational Progress, and only 18 percent of children younger than 6 have a parent who reads to them at least three times a week.
“Low reading proficiency is not just a problem for the student,” said Amy Webb, DHS Chief of Communications and Community Engagement. “It affects the entire community. This is why all members of the community – businesses, nonprofits, faith-based institutions, and individuals – have a role to play in ensuring student success.”
Families can get involved in other ways, such as planning a reading day at a local library, hosting a favorite book character party or a book exchange for youth. Individuals and community organizations can support grade-level reading by:
• Increasing public awareness of the importance of literacy
• Advocating for more resources
• Volunteering in schools
• Supporting early childhood, summer and after-school programs
“Sharing a love for reading isn’t just a one-time event,” Webb said. “You can continue to build and impact lives by becoming a tutor, mentor, school volunteer or advocate for literacy.”