Back to

  Employment Opportunities
  Press Room
  Management and Boards
  Board Meetings Schedule
  Contact Us
  WHRO Dimensions

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:  February 28, 2011

Contact:  Bobbie Fisher, Chief Communications Officer, 757.889.9107


WHRO Receives RADM Ben Hacker Literacy Award from The Literacy Partnership
WHRO Children's Services Team honored for Program Leadership

In recognition for exemplary program achievement in early literacy, WHRO was awarded a 2011 RADM Ben Hacker Literary Award by The Literacy Partnership.  The public broadcaster received the honor at the 2011 Scrabble for Literacy event held on February 25, 2011. 

“The Children’s Services Team at WHRO has made incredible inroads into bringing proven literacy improvement tools into classrooms and camps around the region,” said Michelle Tomaszewski, Ph.D., Executive Director of the Literacy Partnership. “One of its most amazing is the Super Why! Summer Camp program.” 

WHRO conducted its first Super WHY! Reading Camp at the Fort Story Army Base Child Development Center in 2008.  A study by Florida State University’s Center for Reading Research reported that campers gained in all of the literacy skills presented in the program, including an 84 percent gain in phonics skills and a 139 percent gain in word recognition skills.    In the summer of 2009, Super WHY! Reading Camps were held at Norfolk Navy Base Child Development Center and Ida Barbour Early Learning Center in Portsmouth. The 2010 camp was held at Children's Harbor in Chesapeake.  Recently, WHRO was notified that the Hampton Roads Community Foundation will provide WHRO $14,900 to enable five Super WHY! Reading Camps during the summer of 2011 in Chesapeake, Norfolk, Portsmouth, Suffolk and Virginia Beach.

“Helping young children improve their literacy skills is one of the most important endeavors we undertake,” said Angie Callahan, Director of Children’s Services, who received the award.  “While our broadcast of research proven children’s programming reaches into every home in Hampton Roads, the opportunity to take that programming and add a hands-on targeted camp extends the investment many times over.”

The Literacy Partnership was formed in 2000 to develop research and partnerships that facilitate measurable impacts on literacy rates for the City of Norfolk and Hampton Roads. The organization’s mission is to enhance the capacity and effectiveness of literacy resources throughout Hampton Roads, promote the awareness of literacy programs regionally, and advocate for economic growth in Hampton Roads through a literate workforce. Rear Adm. (ret.) Ben Hacker was a key leader in the development of the Literacy Partnership and continually sought ways to expand the reach of literacy resources for the community. In his spirit, the RADM Ben Hacker Literacy Leadership Award was created to recognize the contributions of individuals, programs, and businesses that move forward the goal of becoming a fully literate society.


WHRO, which celebrates its 50th anniversary in 2011, is a regional media company that promotes education, culture and citizenship to the citizens of Hampton Roads, Virginia through a variety of services.  Every day, thousands of viewers and listeners tune in to broadcast programming on WHRO’s four public television and eight public radio stations.  Since its founding in 1961 to support education, WHRO has employed creativity and technology to serve its mission to enrich audiences through content that educates, entertains and promotes understanding. Owned by 18 local school divisions, WHRO delivers educational and new media services to 286,000 students and 25,000 educators per month as well.