Local group helps provide free books for infants

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News 12 This Morning/Wednesday Oct. 16, 2013

(WRDW) -- "I was very fortunate myself to have books in the home and hearing the children that don't have a dictionary at home is heart wrenching," said Pam Lightsey. "So, knowing that if they don't have a dictionary, they probably don't have a reading book as well."

So, Lightsey, along with the Greater Augusta Partnership for Literacy, are providing free books for as many children in our area as possible.

"We have in Richmond and Columbia County, almost 24 to 25,000 children under the age of five," she said. "We know that they're always learning to read up until then and then they're reading to learn after 3rd grade."

Lightsey says helping this age group improve their reading skills can go as far as helping more students graduate high school.

"We know in Richmond County we're looking at approximately a 54-56 percent graduation rate," she explained. "In Columbia County, a 74-76 percent graduation rate. We want to make an investment early on."

The Partnership's now serving about 800 children and any child who signs up gets one free book per month, along with quarterly reading materials for the entire family.

"Not only is the education a piece of it, [it also] builds family as well so you're building family time with mom and dad or aunts and uncles or grandparents."

The program is open to any child and registration is free, but it is donation based. And, thanks to a partnership with Dolly Parton's Imagination Library that covers most of the costs, a $25 donation gives one child an entire year's worth of books in the program.

"She thinks that every family should have books in the home," said Lightsey. "And hopefully making an impact on our community is what we want to do. We want them to learn and love to read."

And you can get involved as well. The Greater Augusta Partnership for Literacy is hosting a pancake breakfast this Saturday, October 19, from 8 am to 10 am at Fatz Cafe in Evans.

It's $8 for adults and children under 6 eat free with the purchase of an adult ticket. All proceeds go to the children who are part of the Greater Augusta Partnership for Literacy.

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