October 16, 2014

Imagine a classroom full of kindergarten students seated on the floor and gathered around to listen eagerly as a storybook is read. That’s the familiar scene of every classroom visited by New College Institute’s (NCI) Reading for Life program. 

Through Reading for Life, volunteers from the community visit every kindergarten classrooms in Martinsville and Henry County to read and give every kindergartner a book of their very own. Reading for Life’s goal is to emphasize to students the importance of reading, and its impact on educational success. Since 2007, this program has served more than 5,000 students in Martinsville and Henry County.

"It's important for our students to see adults reading. They need to see that reading is not just a requirement in school, but that it is a part of life for everyone," said Erin Givens, kindergarten teacher at Albert Harris Elementary School (AHES).

This week, 27 representatives from Longwood University (LU) participated in NCI’s Reading for Life program by visiting the kindergarten classrooms of AHES in Martinsville.

“It was very rewarding to have Longwood University visit New College Institute and participate in our Reading for Life program,” said Steve Keyser, NCI’s Coordinator of Community Engagement.

For the volunteers, the experience is just as rewarding. “It was great to reinforce to the students that reading is fun. Seeing their smiling faces made my day, and I learned a lot from the experience as well,” said Kayla Brock, LU graduate student and graduate assistant.

“This was a great opportunity for Longwood University to see local students and interact with the schools,” said Dr. Jeannine R. Perry, Dean of LU College of Graduate and Professional Studies

While visiting, the Longwood representatives also toured NCI’s new facilities and met with local students enrolled in LU programs. “NCI’s new building is absolutely amazing. It is a testament to the innovative spirit at NCI, and [Longwood University] is proud to be a partner,” said Perry.

“It was wonderful to be able to share the amazing facilities our Longwood students make use of each week.  Additionally, many of the current LU students at NCI were able to meet face to face with members of the Longwood community helping them to connect, in a personal way, to main campus,” said Dr. Pam Randall, LU faculty and program director at NCI.

If you are interested in learning more about Reading for Life or academic programs offered through Longwood University, please call NCI at (276) 403-5610. 


Click here to see coverage of this story in the Martinsville Bulletin.