This guest post was written by Becky Smothers, Mayor, City of High Point.
In Guilford County: Collective Impact In Action, Brian Cockman wrote about the importance of collective impact and how it’s helping to shape Guilford County Schools’ 3 Million Books Challenge. Members of the local media support the reading campaign through guest blog posts and reveal personal stories around childhood literacy. With this same idea in mind, AchieveGuilford contacted me and several other North Carolina politicians to help encourage students to read throughout the school year.
My letter of support, along with those of U.S. Senator Kay Hagan, Governor Bev Perdue, Congressman Howard Coble, Greensboro Mayor Robbie Perkins, State Superintendent June Atkinson and State Board Chair Bill Harrison, encouraged the students of Guilford County to read, read, read! Politicians may not always agree on everything, but certain themes like reading campaigns and literacy are things we can all get behind. You can download and view all of our letters here.
U.S. Senator Kay Hagan, a Greensboro native, contends summer reading is crucial to keeping our students engaged and ready to learn once class resumes in the fall. She goes on to say that the 3 Million Books Challenge is an important opportunity to involve the community, while promoting literacy.
Governor Bev Perdue echoes Senator Hagan’s comments and says strong reading skills can help you achieve great things in school and life. Furthermore, in her opinion, there is nothing better than experiencing the adventures, excitement and emotion that come from the pages of a book. Congressman Howard Coble says reading on a regular basis is an incredibly important skill that helps to develop critical thinking and better communication.
State Superintendent June Atkinson and chairman of the North Carolina state board of education Bill Harrison assert that reading is a skill that gets stronger with practice so it is critical for students to keep those pages turning, even when they are away from the classroom. They go on to say that reading will help ensure success throughout a student’s school career and in whatever path he or she chooses to take after graduation.
Greensboro Mayor Robbie Perkins says the City of Greensboro is proud to partner with Guilford County Schools on the 3 Million Books Challenge and says the challenge is not only for students, but if provides a goal for our community. As Mayor of High Point, I also lend my support to the challenge and feel confident that the students of Guilford County will far exceed the goal of 3 million books!
According to The Literacy Company, the average student learns about 3,000 words per year in the early school years. That’s about eight words per day. Think about how this number could grow if an entire community lifts up reading and demonstrates how it can shape lives. Guilford County and its public servants are doing just that with their words of encouragement – LIFTING OUR STUDENTS UP!
The concept of collective impact, in which people from all sectors work together for positive social change, is alive and well in Guilford County. It has great momentum in our businesses, schools and government, which allows us to create environments of excellence where students can learn and reach their full potential.