Macon-Bibb County Hosts Shared Literacy Celebration During Read Across Georgia Month

The Bibb County School District and United Way of Central Georgia have partnered during Read Across Georgia Month to promote the importance of early literacy—recognizing that early education investment is critical to the community’s well-being and long-term quality of life.

With the help of United Way of Central Georgia’s Read United initiative, over 200 volunteers were recently deployed into 22 Bibb County public elementary schools as part of a shared literacy celebration during Read Across America Day on March 2.

Read United recruits volunteers to tutor kindergarten through third-grade students in reading. The initiative aims to close achievement gaps, increase graduation rates, and disrupt the cycle of poverty through two tutor-based literacy programs: AARP Foundation Experience Corps and Read2Succeed.

To encourage community volunteers to participate in Read Across America Day, United Way of Central Georgia and Bibb County Public Schools hosted a joint press conference at L.H. Williams Elementary School in February. Bibb County Superintendent Dr. Curtis Jones presented a proclamation from Macon’s mayor, Robert Reichert, which declared March 2 as Read Across America Day in Macon-Bibb County. AARP Experience Corps Project Manager Sylvia McGee, a former L.H. Williams student herself, read a story from Dr. Seuss to kindergarten and third-grade students.

“We called it a shared literacy celebration because we asked people to come in to share their passion about reading, to share the message that reading is important because we have so many children who are struggling,” said McGee.

On March 2, students from Pre-K through third grade explored the world of Dr. Seuss and where reading can take them. Each school’s media specialist opened their media center, welcoming volunteer readers to select a Dr. Seuss book to share with a class. Each group also recited the “Reader’s Oath” that aims to inspire lifelong reading.

Volunteers represented all sectors of the community—private and public foundations, social and civic groups, education organizations, government agencies, and faith-based groups—and banded together to show their support for early literacy.

“The success of a community-wide literacy celebration depends on the relationships you build between the people of your community and the schools,” said AARP Foundation Experience Corps Recruitment Specialist Danielle Grisamore. “While the celebration is one day, these relationships fuel your students, teachers, and community members, revealing a common ground all can share—the life-affirming role of literacy in support of a healthy, happy community. Community engagement is key to reaffirming your community’s investment in literacy, your children, and, most importantly, their future.”