Lisa Guenther

LISA GUENTHER, early childhood education instructor at Northeast Community College, assembles Read Aloud Joy kits that have been financed through a $2,000 grant from the Dollar General Family Literacy Foundation. Kits will be shared with area libraries to allow families, childcare centers, preschools and schools in their area to check them out.

Northeast Community College has been selected to receive grant funding that will assist in providing reading literacy materials to families across its 20-county service area.

The 2021 Family Literacy Grant from the Dollar General Literacy Foundation is designed to assist with efforts related to adult education instruction, children’s education and Parent and Child Together Time (PACT).

It is part of the foundation’s recent $10.5 million donation to support summer, family and adult literacy programs, representing the organization’s largest one-day grant donation in its 28-year history.

Lisa Guenther, early childhood education instructor at Northeast, is using the $2,000 grant to create Read Aloud Joy kits.

“The goal of this grant is to provide diversity, inclusion, peace and healthy books; hands on activities; and modeling of positive read aloud experiences,” Guenther said in a media release. “These read aloud experiences are for children, their families and future educators for the children in their care and their own families. We want to pass the passion of reading on to the world one book at a time.”

Guenther used the grant dollars to purchase plastic containers through Dollar General that will include 10 Read Aloud Joy kits that she has prepared. Each kit contains books with complete activities to go with each title and different activities for children.

Kits will be shared with area libraries to allow families, child care centers, preschools and schools in their area to check them out. They also will be shared with Guenther’s students in her early childhood education classes.

"For nearly 30 years, the Dollar General Literacy Foundation has been proud to invest in literacy and education programs in our hometown communities," said Denine Torr, executive director of the foundation, in a college release. "The recent and significant shifts in the educational landscape have made the foundation’s mission more critically important. As we work to create access to high-quality instruction for all individuals, we share our gratitude for the educators who are working to uplift and empower others.”

Guenther said the impact of the grant would go far beyond its one-year funding timeline.

“Once the habit of daily reading aloud is developed within the child, they grow into adults who continue to read daily,” she said. "Reading aloud daily to a child can change the world and the world for that child."

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