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Rural Virginia Literacy Initiative

Literacy and Education Facts:​

  • 26% of Franklin County children cannot read at grade level by the end of third grade. This illiteracy rate has increased from 21% since the 2015-2016 school year.

  • 2/3 of students who cannot read proficiently by the end of 4th grade will end up in jail or on welfare. Over 70% of America’s inmates cannot read above a 4th grade level.

  • 9.3% of FCPS high school seniors either dropped out or didn't graduate in 2018. Small gains in literacy scores of third and fourth graders will increase graduation rates significantly.

  • High-school-only graduates earn $17,500 less per year than those with four-year college degrees. For those without a high school diploma or equivalent, the earnings gap is even greater.

  • Local funding to FCPS children is an overage of 41%, whereas the local funding on average for VA schools is 51%. This may be due to Franklin County's 15% poverty rate, it's stalled economy, or both. Either way, the lack of funding effects the quantity of books and supplies available to children.

Cummins Leadership Foundation is thrilled to be partnering with Reading is Fundamental to provide each child entering PreK and Kindergarten in Franklin County Public Schools a free book of their own on their first day of school. 

Schools had book selection parties and nearly 700 children selected their very own book to keep and take home. Children have enjoyed having their self-selected book of choice and they enjoyed their literacy kick-off parties immensely. 

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Franklin County, Virginia is home to rolling hills of dairy farms, lakes, and friendly country stores where the owners know everyone by name. The pace is slow and the smells of manuer and fresh bales of hay are a commonality.

What can possibly be missing from this picturesque place? BOOKS. 

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