Augusta Free Press

Virginia bankers contribute $25,000 to literacy program

The Virginia Bankers Association Education Foundation has contributed $25,000 as a sponsor of Virginia Reads One Book, a statewide program that will support more than 40,000 public school students and their families from 41 districts across Virginia as they read the same book on the same schedule starting Monday, February 5 — the day after Super Bowl LII.

On this day, all participating schools will receive their new books and follow along as a mystery reader from the Washington Redskins, through a partnership with the Washington Redskins Charitable Foundation, reads the first chapter aloud on an exclusive video cast. The VBA is one of several sponsors of this initiative, a program from Richmond-based Read to Them, and other sponsors include the Washington Redskins Charitable Foundation, Virginia Council on Economic Education and Tackle Reading.

The VBA’s contribution will directly support the participation of 15 elementary schools and more than 8,000 students and staff across the Commonwealth.  In addition to the contribution by the VBA, two Virginia banks made contributions to the program at local schools.  Kilmarnock-based Chesapeake Bank is the proud sponsor of Lancaster Primary School in Kilmarnock and Ginter Park Elementary School in Richmond.  Roanoke-based Bank of Botetourt partnered with the VBA to sponsor Eagle Rock Elementary School.

“The students will each receive their own copy of The Lemonade War — a chapter book by Jacqueline Davies,” says Read to Them Programs Director Cathy Plageman. “The students take their books home and read a chapter with their families each night. They are literally all on the same page as everyone follows the same schedule.”

“Virginia Reads One Book is designed to help schools and communities build reading habits — to increase both student literacy and family literacy,” says Plageman. “With The Lemonade War, students and families are also introduced to financial literacy as Evan and Jessie discover the skills they need to run their lemonade stand businesses.”

“The program not only boosts students’ reading abilities, but it shows them reading is fun in an atmosphere that strengthens family and community interactions,” says Plageman. “With the support of the VBA, the schools receive a book for every student and complimentary staff copies, both family literacy and financial literacy activities, school assembly suggestions, teacher resources, and both family and community engagement tools. These resources turn a book into a community experience so everyone can enjoy and share the story. Some schools have also ordered Spanish versions of the book to give to students.”

Virginia Bankers Association President & CEO Bruce Whitehurst stated, “the VBA is thrilled to be able to sponsor Virginia Reads One Book in this first year.  This program builds on other financial literacy efforts that banks participate with in their communities, including Teach Children to Save, Get Smart About Credit and the VBA Bank Day Scholarship Program.  We were drawn by not only the financial literacy focus of the book, but also the idea of bringing families together through this program.”

Virginia schools and school systems supported by the VBA: