During a visit to East Garner Elementary School on Monday, the state schools superintendent announced a new literacy plan that aims to ensure students are reading at grade level.
Mark Johnson, who was elected in November, said NC Reads will expand and promote preschool literacy and kindergarten readiness. The plan is to consolidate the efforts of donors and volunteers, and to maintain literacy support for students through high school.
“NC Reads is going to be a statewide initiative where we connect book drives and volunteers, and preschool programs and parents, and other stakeholders all around ideas supporting you,” Johnson told kindergarten students.
Part of the program’s goal is to help students retain what they learn during the school year over summer break. Initial steps include collecting books to donate to young students to read over the summer and providing elementary school students with free access to myON, an online program that offers literacy tools.
Johnson said he also wants the NC Reads website to be a place for existing literacy resources across the state to connect.
“We need to make sure we highlight those efforts on our one website, where parents can go find out where they can get resources and information about reading,” Johnson said.
Johnson said he also wants the state to create a new assistant superintendent position to focus on early education. State Rep. Craig Horn, a Union County Republican, said he planned to file a bill Monday that would create the position.
Horn told students the state needs such a leader “so that you guys get a good start.”
Johnson said no state money has been used for NC Reads.
“This is innovation and hard work,” he said. “This is tapping into these pools of resources that are already happening, and making them work more effectively.”
Aaron Moody: 919-829-4806, @Aaron_Moody1