Literacy statistics in South Carolina are unfortunately disheartening. Assessments suggest that half of the students in the third through eighth grades are struggling to read and comprehend grade-level texts. And less than half of these students meet state standards on the SC READY English Language Arts. Two-thirds of students who cannot read proficiently by the end of 4th grade will end up in jail or on welfare, while 85 percent of all juveniles who interface with the juvenile court system are functionally illiterate. And low literacy costs approximately $73 million per year in terms of direct health care costs.  

Thus, we chose to partner with Freedom Readers, an afterschool and summer literacy program designed and implemented to support families in low-income areas as they assist their children in achieving their academic goals in reading. Their mission of improving childhood literacy holds the key to helping children succeed academically, earn a high school and/or college degree, obtain meaningful employment, avoid the criminal justice system, and improve overall physical and mental health and well-being. As was so well-said by Dr. Seuss, “The more that you read, the more things you will know. The more that you learn, the more places you’ll go.” 

While the dynamic and go-getting founder, Tracy Swinton Bailey, Ph.D., already had Freedom Readers up and successfully running, she wanted help increasing their social media presence. We developed a two-pronged marketing awareness program for them. First, we created a calendar for Freedom Readers to share on its website and social media pages for November/National Literacy Month. The calendar included creative and engaging activities for each day of the month to promote reading at home. In addition, we created a video for them to put on their website that conveys Freedom Readers’ mission and describes the benefits of the program. With a few additional tools in their tool bag, Freedom Readers can hopefully increase awareness in our communities, expand their support and reach even more children.