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MEDIA ADVISORY: MU Expert Launches Childhood Literacy Initiative to Coincide with March Madness Tournament

Story Contact(s):
Jesslyn Chew,

By Kate McIntyre

WHAT: Only 42 percent of American fourth-graders are proficient readers, according to the National Center for Education Statistics. Now, a University of Missouri family life specialist is helping launch a literacy initiative that coincides with the NCAA March Madness basketball tournament to encourage thousands of central Missouri children and parents to read more.

WHO: David Schramm, an assistant professor in the MU Department of Human Development and Family Studies in the College of Human Environmental Sciences and a state specialist for MU Extension, is working with Columbia Cares for Kids, a 15-member non-profit coalition of local community partners, to establish “March Reading Madness.” The initiative includes a competition between Columbia and Jefferson City school districts to reach 1 million minutes of reading, a variety of individual reading challenges with prizes for children, and events for children, parents and childcare providers throughout the month.

EVENT: “March Reading Madness Month” Kickoff

  • WHAT: Columbia Mayor  Bob McDavid will formally proclaim March in Columbia as “March Reading Madness Month,” and the Columbia Chamber of Commerce Ambassadors will host a ribbon-cutting ceremony.
  • WHERE: Columbia Boys & Girls Club Youth Development Center
    1200 N. 7th St.
  • WHEN: 9:30-10:30 a.m., Monday, March 4

EVENT: “Young Readers Bedtime Book Bash”

  • WHAT: Parents and their children are invited to come in their pajamas and listen to MU
    athletes and community professionals read children’s books. Children will receive a
    free book. 

  • WHERE: Missouri United Methodist Church
    204 S. 9th St.
  • WHEN: 6:30-8 p.m., Thursday, March 7

NOTE: All events are free and open to the public. For more information, visit