All Martinsville Kindergarten Students to Receive a Free Book From New College Institute’s Reading for Life Program

Martinsville, VA – New College Institute will provide a book for every kindergarten student in Martinsville City, Henry County, and Patrick County Schools through their Reading for Life program. While in-person reading sessions are not possible this year due to COVID, community leaders will be recording reading activities that will be shared virtually with local schools.

“Reading for Life puts books in the hands of all kindergarten students and provides community role models to promote reading for educational success,” said Steve Keyser, NCI’s Coordinator of Educational & Community Engagement.

Reading for Life promotes a solid foundation of reading and a love of learning in the hope that all students will become avid readers, a known indicator for educational success.

Kindergartener Emery Taylor from Patrick Henry Elementary School remarked, “I loved when NCI came to read to us and then gave us a new book. It was so kind! It was awesome!”

This year, the Martinsville – Henry County Chamber of Commerce’s Education Foundation joined the effort as a funder and partner of the program. “We are honored and eager to partner with New College Institute in their Reading for Life program. Reading is important because words, both spoken and written, are the building blocks of life,” said Sharon Shepherd, Deputy Director, M-HC Chamber of Commerce. “Being able to visit all of the kindergarten classrooms in Martinsville and Henry County to read and pass out books to every child is vital to not only their future success but, to the future success of our business community. Our hope is that the book each child takes home will lead them to a love of reading.”

Reading for Life Picture-Left Side-Bottom, Jennifer Doss, Carlisle School, Cameron Cooper, Patrick Henry Elementary School, Renee Brown Albert Harris Elementary School, Steve Keyser, New College Institute Right Side , Bottom, Sharon Shepherd, MHC Chamber of Commerce Andrea Cassell, Patrick County Public Schools, Monica Hatchett, Henry County Public Schools.

Left Side-Bottom, Jennifer Doss, Carlisle School, Cameron Cooper, Patrick Henry Elementary School, Renee Brown Albert Harris Elementary School, Steve Keyser, New College Institute, Right Side-Bottom, Sharon Shepherd, MHC Chamber of Commerce, Andrea Cassell, Patrick County Public Schools, Monica Hatchett, Henry County Public Schools.

“At Patrick Henry we have worked hard to build a culture of readers. In each classroom, strong libraries have been developed that expose students to many genres. We work to get students hooked on authors or series to build a love of reading,” said Cameron Cooper, Principal, Patrick Henry Elementary School. “The Reading for Life program is an integral part of this mission by putting books in the hands of our kindergarten students so they can build their own library at home!”

Reading for Life uses role models to convey the early and vital message that reading is important and opens doors to educational success and personal achievement. According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, children who are introduced to reading early on tend to read earlier and excel in school compared to children who are not exposed to language and books at a young age.

 “Teaching children to love reading is such an important life lesson. We are so appreciative of NCI and the MHC Chamber of Commerce for their work to share books with all the young readers in our community,” said, Jennifer Doss, Resource Development and Marketing Director, Carlisle School.

“Our students and staff of Henry County Public Schools are so grateful for the New College Institute Reading for Life Program and the MHC Chamber of Commerce for the support it provides to our elementary learners as they grow to become lifelong learners,” said Monica Hatchett, Director of Communications and Organizational Learning, Henry County Public Schools.

Having launched Reading for Life in 2007, NCI serves between 700-800 kindergarten students annually, across three districts: Martinsville City Schools, Henry County Schools, and Patrick County Schools.

“Patrick County Public Schools values the partnership that has been established with New College Institute through the Reading for Life Program. We recognize that learning to read and reading often opens the door to learning and achievement,” said Andrea J. Cassell, Assistant Superintendent of Instruction, Patrick County Public Schools. “By providing books to our kindergarten students, the Reading for Life Program is encouraging students to achieve their goals.  Patrick County Public Schools looks forward to continuing this collaboration with New College Institute in literacy.”