What’s Right With Our Schools: United Way of Central Georgia Kickstart Reading program

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MONROE COUNTY, Georgia (41NBC/WMGT) – During the summer, the focus may not be on school, but a local organization is trying to keep students from losing interest in reading.

The non profit organization United Way of Central Georgia is hoping to boost literacy levels by keeping students reading during their summer break.

Vice President for Marketing and Communication at United Way of Central Georgia says, “Get Georgia Reading says that 65 percent of Georgia third graders are not reading proficiently, so we want to change that.”

To change that statistic, the non-profit and community volunteers distributed books to 24 schools in ten counties.

Nelson adds, “We started this Kickstart reading program to get these kids books before the summer because it has also shown that during the summer, kids lose one month of learning. So we want to stop the literacy loss over the summer.”

Instead of dropping the books during the summer, thanks to United Way, the students have the opportunity to keep their heads in the books and get ready for the next school year.

Tripp Hallman, student at K.B. Sutton Elementary says, “When you read your book, there’s first grade words in there and when you get to first grade, you’re going to be ready for first grade.”

Nelson says when students get their own books, it gives them a sense of  ownership and excitement.

“If we give them these books before summer break, they’ll have something to focus on and so they hopefully they won’t lose that literacy rate over the summer and they will grow the love of reading if they have something to read,” Nelson explains.

The volunteers gave out 22,000 books to students in Baldwin, Bibb, Crawford, Houston, Jones, Macon, Monroe, Peach, Wilkinson, and Washington counties.

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(478) 745-4141 ext. 303 Karlisha Booze joined the 41NBC news team in October 2013 as the producer for 41 TODAY. A year later, reporting for Channel 17, the Bibb County School District channel, was added to her responsibilities. Born and raised in Macon, Karlisha is proud to be in her hometown doing what she loves to do. Karlisha's passion for news began in elementary school where she anchored the school's morning news and got an opportunity to try out for the Junior Journalists at WMAZ. She also performed in commercials with Kids Voting Georgia, for Bibb County and Cox Communications. Prior to working at 41NBC, she was a news intern at WGXA and was later hired as a production assistant and worked as a fill-in anchor/producer for the station's morning news broadcast. Karlisha graduated from Middle Georgia College in 2009 with an Associate of Arts (Communications), from Fort Valley State University in 2011 with a Bachelor of Arts (Mass Communications), and from Ashford University in 2014 with a Master of Arts (Organizational Management). She is currently pursuing a Doctorate focusing on Business Administration. In her free time, she enjoys writing poetry and spending time with family and friends, especially her son, Ka'Dence. If you have any story ideas, please pass them along!