CHARLESTON, W.Va. – West Virginia natives Homer Hickam and Landau Eugene Murphy Jr. are teaming up with the West Virginia Department of Education to promote reading in the Mountain State.
Hickam, whose book "Rocket Boys" inspired the movie “October Sky,” and Landau, winner of “America’s Got Talent” Season 6, are appearing in public service announcements that ask, “What are you reading West Virginia?” They join Jennifer Garner, John Corbett, Sam Trammell and others in promoting reading as part of Read WV, a long-term collaborative project of the West Virginia Department of Education, Read Aloud West Virginia, the West Virginia Library Commission and the Imagination Library.
Murphy, who grew up in Logan, tells viewers he’s always been a dreamer. “Reading with our kids is one way we all can nurture their dreams. When we read with our kids, we help them explore new worlds so they want to ‘Fly Me to the Moon’” in reference to one of his favorite Frank Sinatra tunes.
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 on the state Department of Education website at www.readwv.com. The PSAs also are posted on the Read WV website and will be displayed Saturday as part of the West Virginia Department of Education’s booth at the State Fair.
Hickam, who hails from Coalwood, says his parents “passed on their love of reading not only to me but to the other rocket boys.” He encourages viewers to read his favorite author, John Steinbeck.
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 Communication at (304) 558-2699.