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From the CEO - May 2018

As part of a new series, PBS is calling on viewers to help choose America’s favorite book. The Great American Read, which premieres May 22 at 8 p.m., is designed to spark a national conversation about literacy and the books that have inspired and shaped us. You can read more about it on the next page, but I would like to share some additional exciting activities that we have planned this month around literacy.

The U.S. Department of Education has reported that children are much more likely to drop out of school in later years if they have not developed some basic reading skills by the time they enter school. That’s why one important focus of our WHRO Education team is early literacy. Our team helps students throughout Eastern Virginia develop reading skills through our Literacy Van program, summer reading camps, and by providing books to students in low-income communities where books are not easily accessible in the home. In our current fiscal year, we have given away 3,094 First Books and 8,746 activity booklets to children across Eastern Virginia.

We are kicking off a book drive this month to ensure we are able to continue these efforts. You can help us by donating new books for children in pre-Kindergarten through 5th grade. Visit whro.org/bookdrive to learn more.

To encourage reading over the summer months while school is out, we will be launching a summer reading contest for kids. As we participate in “The Great American Read” and reflect on the books and authors that have been important to us throughout our lives, we hope to motivate local children to experience that same joy by falling in love with reading. The contest will launch in June; check out whrokids.org for more details.

I also hope you will tune in for our WHRO Young Storytellers awards program on Sunday, May 27, at 4 p.m. This show celebrates the winners of our annual children’s writing contest. Students in Kindergarten through 5th grade submitted original stories that they wrote and illustrated. Each year I am blown away by the stories that these talented young folks create.

And speaking of interesting stories, both of our local radio talk shows will also offer programs this month that book lovers will enjoy. HearSay with Cathy Lewis and Another View will have shows highlighting books and authors in the days leading up to the premiere of The Great American Read.

I hope you will join me for these exciting programs and activities. And as we head toward to summer, take some time to get lost in a good book! By the way, I’ll be voting for Unbroken as my favorite book. What’s yours?