Bank promotes early literacy in Georgetown

BBVA Compass Bank donated nearly 800 books to Georgetown ISD elementary school students with the help of Georgetown Partners in Education on May 3.

The fourth annual Reading Counts literacy initiative included volunteers from all levels of the bank, including Keith Odom, city president of BBVA Compass, volunteering to read aloud and hand out books to students in eight elementary schools.

"We've done this since 2010," Odom said. "It's a good program, a way to give books to kids."

Principals chose one grade between kindergarten and third to participate in the program, said Amy Brown, Georgetown Partners in Education executive director.

"In order to keep the focus on early literacy, we chose to open this up to schools with K-2 and K-5 [students]," she said. "Those are critical learning years."

Steps were also taken to give students whose primary home language is Spanish books they could enjoy with their parents, Brown said.

Students in every school seemed excited to be read to and receive their own book, said Kevin Pitts, vice president at BBVA Compass and a board member with Partners in Education.

"I liked seeing the joy on their faces," he said. "You hear a lot of 'Do I get to keep this?'"

The books given out during the initiative came from a partnership between BBVA Compass and Scholastic Inc., which has assisted the bank in giving away reading level–appropriate books to students during the Reading Counts initiative.



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