Grace Burgess

Daily Point of Light # 5440 Mar 23, 2015

Reading is a tool that can lead to so many possibilities for children. Today's Daily Point of Light Award winner, Grace Burgess is using her passion for reading and children to ensure that no child goes through life without experiencing the joy of a magical book.
 
A foundation upon which many of life’s successes stem, literacy is a skill that many take for granted. And, for reasons ranging from a lack of parental involvement to insufficient reading materials outside of the classroom, it’s a right many children lack access to and do not have the opportunity to develop.  
 
Today’s Daily Point of Light Award winner, Grace Burgess of Bartlett Tennessee, has made it her mission to ensure all children are given the gift of reading and that it takes them on a magical adventure through life. Burgess created ‘Ready, Set, Read: Encouraging a Love for Reading’ program to foster an interest in reading among children.
 
Grace Burgess has utilized her platform as Miss Tipton County 2015 to launch ‘Ready, Set, Read!’ a promotional campaign that exercises the natural curiosity of children to expand their imaginations and grow a strong love for reading at an early age.
 
“My junior year I stated volunteering with Shelby County Books from Birth, which provides books to children enrolled in the program, one book a month from birth to age five, regardless of family income. I raised a little over $1,000 for them, and that kick started everything,” Burgess recalls.
 
At Shelby County Books from Birth, Burgess served as a guest reader at Altruria Elementary School’s Family Literacy Night, taking place on Dr. Seuss’ Birthday. This event donates over 250 books to the FedEx Family House, and serves as an additional book drive for a new Boys and Girls Club in Tipton County. She has read some of her favorite books to over 2,500 children, sharing her love of reading.
 
But ‘Ready, Set, Read!' isn’t Burgess’s main focal point. The campaign aims to provide parents with information to help encourage their children to read and show their children that reading is fun. The campaign emphasizes to parents how crucial literacy skills are at the development stage of a child’s life. Burgess however, doesn’t just focus on the parents.” ‘Through Ready, Set, Read!’ I travel to different schools and have book readings at least once a week. It’s so much fun!”  
 
Burgess has recently launched a website for the campaign, www.readtn.org. This allows the community to contact her to request group readings, a book drive or any other activity that may be helpful in encouraging children to read. She also maintains social media sites, and in both cases, provides helpful links for local and national resources for those seeking free reading material. All while still working on fundraisers with Shelby County Books from Birth.
 
“With Ready, Set, Read! I get to see tangible results. I get to see a little child’s eyes light up when they read a book or find that interest. And I get to see how it impacts them and makes them feel special. Seeing the joy they get from opening a book, or having a book of their very own is most rewarding.” Too many children go through life without experiencing the joy of reading. Burgess hopes to instill a passion for knowledge and imagination in children at a young age so they are prepared for what comes ahead.
 
If you know someone like Grace Burgess working to ensure opportunities for young children, nominate them today for the Daily Point of Light Award at http://www.pointsoflight.org/programs/recognition/dpol/nomination  

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