Mingo campaign wins National Bright Spot award

Mingo County’s “Literacy League” was recently notified that it has been selected as a National Bright Spot winner for its efforts to increase literacy in the county. The community profiles of Director of Early Learning Programs Dr. Sabrina Runyon, left, and Parent Coordinator Christie Tilley, will be featured and presented during GLR Week in Philadelphia July 23-27.

Mingo County Schools officials announced that the school system’s “Literacy League” was recently notified that it is being recognized as a National Bright Spot winner for its efforts to increase literacy in Mingo County.

The profiles of the communities of Dr. Sabrina Runyon, director of Early Learning Programs, and Christie Tilley, parent coordinator, will be featured on the new Grade Level Reading Learning for Impact and Improvement System and will be presented during GLR Week in Philadelphia July 23-27, officials said.

The grant was made available to West Virginia counties through the National Campaign, which is a collaborative effort between the West Virginia Dept. of Education and the West Virginia Board of Education.

For the past three years, officials noted, the Mingo County Literacy League has worked to raise literacy awareness, having taken the following action:

• Purchasing a Little Free Library for each elementary and PK-8 school. Books and other reading material are stocked in the libraries for student and community use.

• Every student in PK through 3rd grade gets to “shop” for five books. At the end of each school year, they take 30-35 (from over 100 titles) book choices from which students choose five.

• At each elementary and PK-8 school, a reading shower is held. A Reading Shower is similar to a Baby Shower, with the types of gifts being different. Instead of diapers, wipes and clothing. It’s all about Literacy, with the gifts being books. Each pregnant mother and child gets to shop for five free books. A door prize of 15 books is given away.

• In addition to these events, ongoing effort to put books in the hands of Mingo County families has resulted in over 375 books being distributed to gas stations, banks, restaurants, doctors’ offices, hospital waiting rooms —anywhere that families frequent. 

• Appalachian Regional Hospital receives bags to give to new moms. The bags have books, nutritional information, growth charts, imagination library registration information and other pertinent items to help the new moms.

• So that all Mingo County Universal PK Classrooms had equitable resources, the program officials asked each classroom teacher for a list of needs. Most teachers asked for area rugs for their classrooms. We purchased the rugs and other supplies to help with centers. A new laptop was bought for each PK teacher. We also were awarded 21 computers and 5 printers free through the “Second Launch WV” initiative. A computer went to each PK classroom. 

• K-3 teachers also received a new laptop.

• After-school made available to K-3 students and each elementary and PK-8 school. Approximately 3000 opportunities for students to get help with ELA and Math literacy and to receive a healthy snack.

• Each of the program’s seven school communities has some type of food pantry or feeding program. The group selects one from each community to receive funds for food and school supplies for children. They also received boxes of books to give out at the event to each child.

• Funds are given to support Energy Express sites in Mingo County. This is a well-known program that feeds students and puts books in the hands of the students. The students also receive reading help from the mentors who work the program.

• To decrease summer learning loss, the team will provide summer learning kits to students going into grades K-3. The kits contain a parent survey for the student to bring back to school in the fall. A prize will be given to each student who brings the survey back.

• Enroll children in the Imagination Library book program. The team partners with other entities, such as the WIC office, to get the enrollment forms from parents. This program allows children to receive a book each month from birth to age 5.

Including all programs, more than 30,000 books have been made available to children in the past three years, officials said.

Any business or organization interested in becoming involved with Mingo County’s Campaign for Literacy or has resources available to students should contact Runyon at, (304) 235-7123, or Tilley at, (304) 235-7214.

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