Book Buddies the Target of large grant

      Mayor Joe Riley addresses a room full of 3rd graders (Brandon Geier/WCIV)

      CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCIV) -- A Lowcountry literacy program got a much needed boost from a national chain Wednesday.

      "It's improving the literacy rates of 300 Charleston County students - so it provides for the curriculum, the training of the volunteers, and the work with the students," said Kecia Greenho with Charleston Volunteers For Literacy. "We have a full time site coordinator at each of our sites and we're at eight Title 1 elementary schools in Charleston County."

      The Charleston Book Buddies program brings volunteers and children together to improve reading rates of at-risk children in Charleston County schools.Those volunteers read with kids twice a week. The organization won a 40 thousand dollar "Third Grade Reads Grant" from the Cities of Service program funded by Target. That money will help expand the program in Charleston County.

      "This is a wonderful opportunity for us to further our efforts in the area of literacy," said Charleston Mayor Joe Riley to a library full of third graders. "This program is very successful and this 40 thousand dollar grant allows us to expand our efforts in the community and into more schools."

      Organizers say the program has proven results - 94 percent of students in the program were reading at or above their grade level.