University of Alabama economic center promotes ‘Read Across America’ Day in Black Belt region

University of Alabama economic center promotes ‘Read Across America’ Day in Black Belt region
A second-grade class at Greensboro Elementary School in Hale County reads one of the Dr. Seuss books provided by the University of Alabama Center for Economic Development and the Alabama Cooperative Extension System. (University of Alabama Center for Economic Development)

The University of Alabama Center for Economic Development (UACED), along with the Alabama Cooperative Extension System (ACES), is promoting the National Education Association’s Read Across America Day by providing Dr. Seuss-themed reading kits to 34 schools in 13 counties within the Black Belt region.

Alabama’s Black Belt is a place of low educational achievement, high unemployment and poverty. Literacy skills and language development are two essential economic development tools that increase workforce opportunities available to children later on in life.

Read Across America Day is an annual reading motivation and awareness program that calls for every child in every community in the nation to celebrate reading on March 2, the birthday of Dr. Seuss. Across the country, thousands of schools, libraries and community centers join in the celebration of bringing together children, teens and books.

To allow the Black Belt region to take part in the celebration, reading kits composed of classic Dr. Seuss books, stickers, bookmarks and pencils were delivered to 34 schools in the region. UACED and ACES provided the reading kits as part of UACED’s 14th Annual Books for the Alabama Black Belt campaign. The campaign’s goal is to provide one book for every child in the Black Belt; there are more than 30,000 children in the region’s 13 counties, some of the poorest counties in the country.

Motivating children to read is an important factor in creating lifelong successful readers and student achievement, which will lead to better opportunities later in life. Providing books so Black Belt schools can participate in Read Across America Day is one way UACED and ACES help people and communities improve their quality of life and economic well being.

A class at ABC Elementary School in Wilcox County checks out some of its new Dr. Seuss-themed materials provided for Read Across America Day by the University of Alabama Center for Economic Development and the Alabama Cooperative Extension System. (University of Alabama Center for Economic Development)

Reading kits were delivered in the following counties and schools:

  • Bullock County — Union Springs Elementary School
  • Butler County — Greenville Elementary School, W.O. Parmer Elementary School
  • Choctaw County — Choctaw County Elementary School, Southern Choctaw Elementary School
  • Dallas County — J.E. Terry Elementary School, Salem Elementary School, Valley Grande Elementary School, B.K. Craig Elementary School, Southside Primary School, Brantley Elementary School
  • Greene County — Eutaw Primary School, Robert Brown Middle School
  • Hale County — Moundville Elementary School, Greensboro Elementary School
  • Lowndes County — Fort Deposit Elementary School, Central Elementary School, Jackson-Steele Elementary School
  • Macon County — D.C. Wolfe Elementary School, George Washington Carver Elementary School
  • Marengo County — Sweetwater High School K-12, Marengo High School K-12, Amelia Love Johnson High School K-12
  • Pickens County — Gordo Elementary School, Reform Elementary School, Aliceville Elementary School
  • Perry County — Robert C. Hatch K-12, Francis Marion K-12
  • Sumter County — Livingston Jr. High School, Kinterbish Junior High School, York West End Junior High School
  • Wilcox County — F.S. Ervin Elementary School, J.E. Hobbs Elementary School, ABC Elementary School

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