BRIDGEPORT, W.Va. (WBOY) — Read Aloud West Virginia has set out on a mission to encourage students in West Virginia to read and to want to read. On Monday, students at Johnson Elementary in Bridgeport were the latest stop on that mission.

Created in 1986 by concerned parents of Kanawha County, Read Aloud West Virginia is inspiring children to pick up a book by demonstrating just how wonderful it can be.

In conjunction with WV Public Broadcasting, Read Aloud West Virginia launched a new initiative titled, “Mountain Readers are Leaders”, where every county in West Virginia received a volunteer reader at a few of its schools. Read Aloud West Virginia typically serves 34 counties in the state, meaning the new initiative is reaching a much greater audience.

On Monday, Mary Morrison, a volunteer reader with Read Aloud West Virginia, visited Johnson Elementary School for the first time to read a few children’s books written by West Virginian authors.

In an interview with 12 News, Morrison said how important it was to her personally to have the opportunity to read to children. Morrison is a retired media specialist and said that just two weeks after her retirement, she was back reading to children in schools.

“Reading to students the children’s books is probably one of the biggest joys of my job as a media specialist that I worked for thirty years, and I just hope that I’m able to pass on my love of reading for the books that I read to them,” said Morrison.

The book featured in Read Aloud West Virginia’s Mountain Readers are Leaders program was, “Falling Water” written by Marc Harshman and Anna Egan Smucker. Each classroom that participated in the reading also received a copy of the book for their classroom.

You can learn more about Read Aloud West Virginia through its website and you can also sign up to be a volunteer reader through this page.