Family Reading Partnership banner, from their Facebook page

ITHACA, N.Y. – The Family Reading Partnership has appointed Amber Smith as its new executive director. The organization works to promote early childhood literacy across Tompkins County.

Smith has served as interim director since June and brings her experience in child development to the leadership role.

“I am so excited to bring my experience to the programming that the Family Reading Partnership offers. We have an opportunity to reach every family in Tompkins County with programs designed to empower caregivers to engage with their young children, and I am thrilled to be a part of that,” Smith said.

The Family Reading Partnership’s mission is to “create a culture of literacy” by partnering with families, businesses, schools, libraries and other organizations throughout Tompkins County. About 20 percent of Tompkins students have their first significant experience with books when they enter the classroom, according to the organization’s website. Family Reading Partnership’s programs are designed to connect kids to books sooner, starting with prenatal programs for expecting parents.

The “Books to Grow On” program shares books, support and encouragement with families from the time they are expecting to the start of kindergarten. The “Bright Red Bookshelf” and “Traveling Books” programs make early childhood books available for free throughout the community.

As Smith takes the helm at the Family Reading Partnership, she said she plans to integrate technology and other learning tools into the organization’s outreach work.

“We have the opportunity to use the technologies that parents are already relying on to deliver messaging that encourages them to talk, read, sing, and play with their children,” Smith said, while acknowledging, “it will be a difficult road to navigate.”

Smith said she will build on the skills she gained while helping launch the Finger Lakes Toy Library to develop creative programs and strengthen community partnerships.

Those looking to get involved with the Family Reading Partnership can find information on their website. There are opportunities to participate in programs, volunteer and donate.

Featured image courtesy of Family Reading Partnership.

Devon Magliozzi

Devon Magliozzi is a reporter for the Ithaca Voice. Questions? Story tips? Contact her at dmagliozzi@ithacavoice.com or 607-391-0328.