SARASOTA/MANATEE, FL – Goodwill Manasota invites area families to enjoy the Good Readers Program, which will begin anew in Manatee County later this month. Each of the monthly installments will take place on Saturday mornings at 11:00 a.m. in one of the four Goodwill Manasota Bookstores in Sarasota and Manatee counties. Goodwill Ambassadors (volunteers) will read to groups of children for an hour, while parents are free to browse the store or listen with their child. When story time ends, each child will receive a free book.
First launched in 2014, the Good Readers Program works to engage young minds and foster a lifelong love of reading in children. Studies show that children exposed to books at a young age are more likely to do better both academically and behaviorally – reading is the single most important activity for the development of literacy skills and is critically linked to future success. In fact, reading aloud to children is considered to be the most effective way to help them develop word mastery, grammatical understanding, and narrative comprehension.
Unfortunately, poverty and illiteracy are closely connected: parents in low-income families are less likely to buy or have access to books, and engage in less conversation, using smaller vocabularies when talking with their children. The goal of the Good Readers program is to provide additional support and assistance for low-income children, and the gift of books of their own.
Dates and locations of the Good Readers Program are:
• Manatee Bookstore (5512 Manatee Ave W, Bradenton): April 21 and August 18, 11:00 a.m.
• Clark Bookstore (5831 Derek Avenue, Sarasota): May 19 and September 15, 11:00 a.m.
• Tara Bookstore (7200 55th Ave E, Bradenton): June 16 and October 20, 11:00 a.m.
• Venice Bookstore (1752 S. Tamiami Trail, Venice): July 21 and Nov 17, 11:00 a.m.
“Strong literacy skills are closely linked to the probability of having a good job, decent earnings, and access to training opportunities,” said Bob Rosinsky, president and CEO of Goodwill Manasota. “It is the greatest weapon in the ongoing struggle between success and failure – between economic insecurity and prosperity.”
Goodwill launched its Good Readers Program at Sarasota’s Alta Vista Elementary School in 2014; over the next few years, Goodwill Ambassadors read and gifted books to hundreds of students at Alta Vista and Visible Men Academy in Bradenton. To learn how you can volunteer as a Good Reader or donate children’s books, call (941) 355-2721, ext. 163.
Goodwill Manasota is an industry-leading, 501(c)(3), not-for-profit organization that changes lives through the power of work. With the sales of donated goods and philanthropic donations, Goodwill is able to assist people with disabilities and other barriers to employment by providing job skills training and employment opportunities. In 2017, Goodwill Manasota served 11,672 people, placed 555 people in jobs, assisted 360 veterans as they reintegrated back into the civilian workforce, and provided 19,540 hours of on-the-clock training for its employees. Goodwill Manasota’s economic impact back to the community is worth $92.1 million. Goodwill is one of the pioneers of the reduce-reuse-recycle movement and this past year diverted more than 41 million pounds out of the landfill. Goodwill Manasota is accountable to a local Board of Directors. Goodwill Manasota, in essence, belongs to this community and is not owned by any individual or company. For more information, visit www.experiencegoodwill.org.