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Read to Me Day celebrates a record year

by on November 26, 2014
Jim Cook, director of transmission region construction for AEP, reads to students at Breckinridge Elementary School in Fincastle, Va.

Jim Cook, director of transmission region construction for AEP, reads to students at Breckinridge Elementary School in Fincastle, Va.

(Story by Teresa Hall)

CHARLESTON, W.Va. — Appalachian Power and American Electric Power employees and retirees made a difference last week in the lives of thousands of schoolchildren across West Virginia, Virginia and Tennessee. This year’s company sponsored Read to Me Day program reached a record number of schools across the company’s footprint providing the best opportunity yet to instill a love of reading in children.

More than 300 employees and retirees in the company’s three-state service territory read aloud to nearly 445 elementary schools Nov. 20 as part of the program. Employees and retirees read “When Charlie McButton Lost Power,” written by Suzanne Collins, author of the Hunger Games series. While at the school, readers visited two or more classrooms at each school, and then donated the book to the school’s library.

“This was truly an outstanding year for our Read to Me Day program,” said Allison Barker, Read to Me Day coordinator. “We couldn’t be more pleased with the feedback we’ve received from teachers and students as well as our own employees and retirees.”

Barry Mosser, a national account manager for AEP, read to students at Ceredo and Kenova elementary schools in West Virginia, and described the experience as awesome. “It was a pleasure for me to represent AEP/APCo in this worthwhile endeavor,” he said.

Barker and Jeri Matheney, director of corporate communications, also received feedback from librarians and teachers, including Samantha Asbury, a second grade teacher at Alum Creek Elementary School in West Virginia. “My class would like to send a thank you message to Staci Tighe for reading to us this morning,” wrote Asbury. “We really enjoyed her visit.”

School librarian Marcy Wohlford wrote, “Your employee Jim Cook did a great job reading to the second graders at Breckinridge Elementary in Fincastle, Va. He always does a super job here, and we look forward to his annual visit.”

Appalachian Power and Barker also received praise from employees like Jason Hill and Deb Osborne, who both commented on the company’s Facebook page. “They liked the book but what really surprised me were the questions that they asked,” Hill wrote. “These kids today are really thinking way above their age.”

Osborne wrote, “Thanks for organizing and supporting this. I read to four classes of amazing kids at Evans and Cottageville Elementary and they loved the book!”

The company began its Read to Me Day program in West Virginia in 2001, and expanded to Virginia and Tennessee two years ago. Since that first day in 2001, Appalachian Power has donated nearly 5,000 books to school libraries and read aloud to nearly 200,000 students.

“Our Read to Me Day school partnership is a great way for our employees to be involved in communities where they live and work,” Barker said. “It’s also an opportunity for us to emphasize the important role that reading plays in education and careers.”

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