Local premiere sets roadmap for early literacy

  • Sunday, May 18, 2014

One-third of South Carolina's high school graduates don't have the skills necessary to compete in the global economy during their lifetimes. For most, success or failure is determined before third grade.

“When the Bough Breaks” is a remarkable new documentary, chronicling the consequences of the state's education system that continues to produce some of the nation's lowest rates of literacy. The 40-minute film will premiere in Charleston Thursday, May 22, at 6:30 p.m. in Grimsley Hall at The Citadel as a benefit for Begin With Books.

The documentary, commissioned by the South Carolina Education Oversight Committee, was directed by Charleston native and filmmaker Bud Ferillo of the University of South Carolina's Children's Law Center. Ferillo, who also produced and directed the acclaimed “Corridor of Shame” in 2006, will speak at the event.

“When the Bough Breaks” highlights the neuroscience behind children's learning patterns and what communities and caregivers can do to help children before they get to school. Ferillo talks to educators, community leaders and students to uncover the core issues impacting the state's low literacy rates and determine what can be done to intervene to help future generations of students.

“This documentary is intended to educate every parent and caregiver that exposure to regular reading and conversation every day from birth onward can shape a child for life,” Ferillo said.

Ticket sales and donations will benefit Begin With Books, an early literacy initiative that provides a free, age-appropriate book each month to more than 2,000 Charleston County households with toddlers and infants. The books are provided at no cost to the recipients. Begin With Books, an affiliate of Dolly Parton's Imagination Library, is an all-volunteer initiative of The Palmetto Project, currently serving families in nine communities in Charleston County.

Responding to the film will be Dr. Nancy J. McGinley, superintendent, Charleston County School District, Kim Odom, manager, John L. Dart Branch Library, Charleston County Public Library, and Steve Skardon, executive director, Palmetto Project. Representatives from the Dollywood Foundation also will be in attendance.

Tickets to the event are $33 per person, available online at Begin With Books' website, Brown Paper Tickets or by sending a check to Begin With Books, PO Box 183, Charleston, South Carolina 29402.

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