60,000 elementary students ready for Virginia Reads One Book 2019

Virginia Reads One Book 2019Students from 143 Virginia elementary schools and their families are set to read the same book together in March. The official kickoff date is Friday, March 1, for each of the 60,000 participating students to receive their own copies of “Cleo Edison Oliver: Playground Millionaire” by Sundee T. Frazier.

“We’re excited that in this second year of Virginia Reads One Book the number of participating students has grown from 40,000 to 60,000 students,” says Read to Them Executive Director John Dwyer. “Students from as far apart as Bristol, Tidewater and Fairfax will be reading the same book at the same time.” Virginia Reads One Book 2019 includes four entire districts: Richmond city with 26 schools, Norfolk with 33 schools, Portsmouth with 13 schools and Petersburg with four schools.

“’Cleo Edison Oliver: Playground Millionaire’ features a girl of color as an aspiring entrepreneur and business leader,” says Read to Them Program Director Cathy Plageman (PLAG-man). “To that end, we are sharing with schools videos of women CEOs reading chapters of the book and are encouraging schools to recruit their own local women CEOs to appear at school assemblies.”

“At kick-off events in each school, students will receive their own copies of “Cleo Edison Oliver: Playground Millionaire” to take home and read with their families,” says Plageman. “The kick offs will also include videos of a mystery reader — provided by the Washington Redskins Charitable Foundation – reading the first chapter aloud. For the next three weeks, students and their families read a chapter each night at home, coordinating with classroom and school-wide activities.”

“Cleo Edison Oliver” is a chapter book featuring a sassy, confident, independent, enterprising girl who is ready to take on the world. Cleo is an African-American elementary school girl who is focused on business, whether it’s selling avocados, homemade dog food or concocting a money-making scheme to pull loose teeth. Her story takes place on the playground — and along the way she discovers basic financial principles.

“We expect the students will have a lot of fun reading about Cleo,” says Plageman. “In fact, we hope it may even inspire some students to become budding entrepreneurs themselves!”

“Virginia Reads One Book is designed to help schools and communities build reading habits, increase student literacy, family literacy and family financial literacy,” says Dwyer. “It also strengthens family and community interactions. The schools receive books for each student, complementary staff copies, family literacy and family financial literacy activities, school assembly suggestions, and teacher resources, along with family and community engagement tools.”

Special thanks to these sponsors who have made this exciting program possible: Virginia Bankers Association Education Foundation, Washington Redskins Charitable Foundation, Virginia Council on Economic Education and Tackle Reading.

Read to Them is a Richmond based non-profit promoting family literacy. A growing body of research shows that children who are read to learn to read more easily and become better readers. Literacy skills provide the basis for a lifetime of learning and productivity. For more information visit www.readtothem.org.


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