Shaw University president Dr. Tashni-Ann Dubroy


That was the first book I’m remember reading as a child. The children’s book written and illustrated by P.D. Eastman will always hold a special place is my WUAR logoheart. I was fortunate enough to be nurtured by parents who understood the importance of literacy and I always remember the look on my Mother’s face when I read GO DOG. GO! to her in its entirety. Years of my parents reading to me along with schooling had attributed to this pivotal moment on my path to an educated professional.


NC State head football coach Dave Doeren

I reflect on that moment now and appreciate the number of children’s book were at my disposal. Not every child has access to children’s books, thus not able to experience the breakthrough moment I did as a child. As the son of parents who served thirty years each in public education and the father of two children, it’s disheartening to think some children may be denied literacy skills because of a lack of resources.

On that note, I’m proud to say I have volunteered with WAKE Up and Read for the last three years. WAKE Up and Read is a collaborative effort that runs from January 21st to March 4th to engage and educate Wake County about the importance of childhood literacy and to increase access to literacy resources and opportunities for all children. The effort focuses on collecting new and gently used books for children age birth-12 with a goal of having all students reading on grade level by grade three. This initiative originated as a Grade-Level Reading Campaign grant proposal. Key leaders from education, business, civic, philanthropic and non-profit agencies are participating in the collaboration. The focus of this national initiative targets three areas: school readiness, regular school, attendance, and summer learning.

Raleigh Police Chief Cassandra Deck-Brown

Raleigh police chief Cassandra Deck-Brown

This year, WAKE Up and Read hopes to collect 110,000 books– enough to share with children at nine schools, as well as community centers and child care facilities across Wake County. A number of businesses and organizations in Wake County will serve as a collection partner to the public for those who wish to drop off their new and gently used books for young children.

I volunteer my social media skills for WAKE UP and Read. Last year I posted a photo of a local leader, personality or person of influence with a children’s book on my social media profiles every day in February. The idea mimics the national campaign from the 80’ and 90’s with national celebrities encouraging children to read. I will once again be posting photos of some Wake County citizens along with a favorite children’s book every day in February. Some you will recognize, some you will not, but the point is to demonstrate Wake County is a culturally rich and diverse community who understand the importance of reading.

Childhood literacy is critical to a community’s growth and economic development on a granular level. If Wake County is to continue to receive the national accolades as a desired place to work and live, we must not lose sight of this critical point in our children’s lives. This is a community effort and I encourage you to get involved in some capacity, http://wakeupandread.org

Come on Wake County! Let’s WAKE Up and Read!


John Drescher, Executive editor, The News & Observer

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