CHARLESTON, W.Va. – Former West Virginians John Corbett, Sam Trammell and Jennifer Garner are joining West Virginia’s Teacher of the Year to promote reading in the Mountain State.
The celebrities are appearing in radio and television advertisements that ask, “What are you reading West Virginia?” The campaign is part of Read WV, a long-term collaborative project of the West Virginia Department of Education (WVDE), Read Aloud West Virginia, the West Virginia Library Commission and the Imagination Library.
Corbett, who is best-known for playing Chris Stevens on Northern Exposure and Carrie Bradshaw’s boyfriend Aidan on “Sex and the City,” currently stars in “United States of Tara” as Max Gregson and on “Parenthood” as Seth Holt. In the ads, he tells the tale of a teacher in Wheeling who helped him become a better reader. “When I was a kid in West Virginia reading didn’t come easy to me,” Corbett says. “Yet I know I wouldn’t be the actor I am today if I didn’t learn to read well.”
Read WV is designed to encourage children and their parents and grandparents to make reading a priority early in life and to involve all West Virginians in the critical task of ensuring that children read every day. The project includes a web page of resources, a video contest, and social media options on the WVDE website at www.readwv.com. The commercials also are posted on the website. In addition, children and adults alike can share what they are reading on Twitter using #ReadWV in their Tweets.
“Reading well is one of the most important skills children need to learn,” said state Superintendent of Schools Jorea Marple. “When children become good readers in the early grades, they are more likely to do well in other subjects and develop a love of learning that will last a lifetime.”
Trammell, who graduated from Charleston’s George Washington High School, currently plays a shape-shifter on HBO’s vampire series, “True Blood.” Garner, also a graduate of George Washington High School, is scheduled to join the project in June. Also appearing in the spots is West Virginia’s 2011 Teacher of the Year Drema McNeal, a National Board Certified sixth grade language arts teacher at Park Middle School in Raleigh County.
“Reading sparked my creativity and imagination and it can do the same for you and your kids,” Trammell says. “So what are you reading West Virginia?”
In recent years, the state Board of Education recognized that too many West Virginia children come to school from homes where reading is not commonplace. The board refined its education goals by reaffirming the importance of “teaching all children to read.” While progress has been made, Read WV acknowledges more can be done. By encouraging parents to read with their children, Read WV strives to increase the literacy of all West Virginians.
“It sounds so simple yet too many people don’t read at home with their children even when research tells us doing so makes a big difference,” Marple said. “Read WV reminds us how important it is for all of us – children and adults -- to read every day.”
For more information, contact the Office of Communications at (304) 558-2699.
--The West Virginia Board of Education and the West Virginia Department of Education (WVDE) are committed to ensuring all students in the state are college and career ready when they graduate from a public school. What West Virginia students are learning in school exceeds national and international standards. Through the WVDE’s 21st century learning plan called “Global21: Students deserve it. The world demands it.,” West Virginia is seeing better student performance on the West Virginia Educational Standards Test 2 (WESTEST2); the SAT and the ACT college entrance exams; the job skills assessment called Work Keys given to career and technical education students; and in a high school graduation rate that exceeds the national average.
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