TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WTXL) — The Tallahassee Chamber’s program designed for young professionals, Access Tallahassee, is launching a new community initiative to improve literacy in local youth.
According to the Chamber, the latest reading scores released by Leon County Schools last month show that nearly half of local third graders are reading below grade level.
"This alarming statistic has significant and long-term consequences not only for each of those children but for the community," the Chamber said. "Literacy delays lead to higher high school dropout rates, crime, and poverty."
With Leon County students on summer break, Access Tallahassee launched the "Access to Reading" project, providing books for children through little library boxes located throughout Leon County at private businesses, apartment complexes, and lower-income neighborhoods.
This volunteer-led initiative aims to spark creativity, encourage at-home reading, and foster neighborhood book exchanges. For every sponsored box, a little library is installed and fully stocked with books.
Access Tallahassee members will provide continued maintenance and regularly replenish new books and the Florida Center for Reading Research pledged to match each book donated.
The little library box located at TallaVilla Apartments, sponsored by First Florida Credit Union, is the first of several public bookshelves, with future locations coming near Nims Middle School and the Fort Braden Community.
Sponsors include First Florida Credit Union, Grimsley and Company CPAs, Ajax Building Company, and Leadership Tallahassee Class 26. To learn more about getting involved with the Access to Reading Project through sponsorship or book donations, please contact Katie Harwood at email@example.com.