Goodyear Elementary brings community together to promote literacy

The school invited parents to join their students during lunch period for a pleasant break and outdoor reading experience. Numerous volunteers and community organizations also participated in the event, which aimed to promote early literacy education.

Students who are able to read on grade level by the third grade are proven to earn higher academic and professional achievements. Oatanisha Dawson, principal at Goodyear Elementary, said the reading event is meant to get students excited about reading while giving families the resources they need to support their children’s learning.

“This event has done three things — it increases parent involvement, it increases community input, feedback and participation, and of course it supports teachers and students and our goal to meet reading proficiency,” she said.

Each student received a book on his or her reading level, and parents and volunteers asked the students to read to them during the Literacy on the Lawn event.

On their way out, parents were asked to complete a survey about future engagement opportunities the school could offer.

“We’re trying to move from simply helping families to empowering families,” Dawson said.

The event is tied in with Title 1 parent and family engagement to help parents support their children’s academics at home.

Participating in the event were the men’s and women’s basketball teams at College of Coastal Georgia, local churches, the Brunswick Chapter of the Links, Inc., the Boys & Girls Club of Southeast Georgia, Marshes of Glynn Libraries, Brunswick Mayor Cornell Harvey and City Manager Regina McDuffie.

Leann Drummond, parent involvement coordinator at Goodyear, said she hopes events like this diminish any disconnect between parents and their children’s school.

“We’re all one big family, and the child succeeds with a family and a school all working together,” she said.

Goodyear Elementary also offers a mentorship program through which participants meet regularly with a chosen mentee at the school and help the student with academics and social development.

Jeff Roberts, a mentor through a partnership the school has with his church, St. Simons Presbyterian, met his mentee, a kindergarten student, for the first time during the literacy event.

“In addition to just being there for the kids and just being able to talk to them, I’m able to emphasize whatever they’re working on academically as well, whether it’s reading or shapes or colors,” he said. “I do whatever I can do to help emphasize what it is that’s important to them.”

The success of the Literacy on the Lawn event, which has grown annually since its inception several years ago, showcases the community’s real desire to play a role in local education, Drummond said.

“We want the parents to feel welcome, and I believe they feel welcome because it shows with them coming out,” she said.