Conversations Archives - Early Learning Nation
Teacher-Coordinator Autumn Bevins reads aloud to children and mentors.

Why Don’t We Just Do That?

Over Cocktails, Restaurateurs Hatch a Plan for Literacy

Three years ago, Amanda and John Horne, owners of Anna Maria Oyster Bar in Bradenton, Florida, heard that 51 percent of children in their local Manatee County school system couldn’t read at grade level by third grade. They were appalled. “This was horrific,” Amanda says. “We had no idea that this was an issue.” Over cocktails one night, Amanda and John wondered what they could do. Their clientele is largely composed of older “grandparent-type” people. They have four restaurants and a mailing list of more than 24,000 customers. What if they could pair children up with a grandparent figure or somebody who cares about them, read with them and maybe instill them with a love of reading?

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