Reading Seeds

Something is happening to the children of Roanoke right under our noses. New statistics have uncovered that, in Roanoke, three out of ten children—twice the state rate—live under the poverty line. According to recent polls, one-third of our elementary students are failing their third grade reading exams. And studies have proven that children who fail these tests are 13 times more likely to drop out of high school. If these statistics remain unchanged, that means that, of the 13,094 third graders in the Roanoke area, 2,000 of them are estimated to drop out of high school over the next ten years.

New charity Reading Seeds finds this number unacceptable. In an effort to end illiteracy in the Valley, Reading Seeds, a non-profit organization, has dedicated itself to bringing new, never been used books to children of all ages in the Roanoke area. The latest research has shown that simply introducing books to children at young ages, raising them in environments with personal libraries, or even having them watch adults read for extended periods of time teaches them to value and enjoy the written word. Studies have also shown that children who receive new books verses used books are more likely to crack open the spine and dig in.

That’s where Reading Seeds comes in. Operating out of the Unitarian Universalist Church of Roanoke, the program provides 155 children a year with 9 to 12 new books for their own personal libraries. Volunteers read at schools across the county and raise money to purchase books and raise awareness of illiteracy. This year, the charity hopes to distribute 1860 new books to kids in need. And the program needs your help. In order to keep the lights on, the organization requires $465 a month to purchase books. The program also runs on volunteers, who are willing to donate their time to read to children in schools. Anything you could do to help would be appreciated! If you would like to contribute money to their cause, contact Co-coordinater Amy Hatheway at If you would be willing to volunteer to read, try contacting Lori Livingston at Please help us end illiteracy in our community! Spread the word about Reading Seeds today!


Growing Up in the Valley is Roanoke's very first family focused magazine. We are the premier source for family fun in Southwest & Central Virginia!
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