Virginia Reads One Book Crew

Virginia Reads One Book: Together

As of March 1st, more than 60,000 public school students and their families from across Virginia began reading the same book on the same schedule. This effort is part of Virginia Reads One Book program brought to you by ‘Read to Them,’ a Richmond based non-profit whose mission is to create a culture of literacy in every home.

This year the Virginia Bankers Association joined in the fun and became a statewide sponsor of the Program. “The program not only boosts students’ reading abilities but it shows them reading is fun in an atmosphere that strengthens family and community interactions,” says Bruce Whitehurst, president, and CEO of the Virginia Bankers Association. “

Kick-off events are held at each school, where students receive their copies of the chosen book to take home and read with their families. This year’s book was Cleo Edison Oliver: Playground Millionaire. “Students will follow along as a mystery reader from the Washington Redskins, through a partnership with the Washington Redskins Charitable Foundation, reads the first chapter aloud on an exclusive video cast. For the next three weeks, students and their families read a chapter each night at home, coordinating with classroom and school-wide activities,” says Read to Them Program Director Cathy Plageman.

Cleo Edison Oliver is a chapter book featuring a sassy, confident, independent, enterprising girl who is ready to take on the world. Cleo is an African-American elementary school girl who is focused on business, whether it’s selling avocados, homemade dog food or concocting a money-making scheme to pull loose teeth. Her story takes place on the playground — and along the way she discovers basic financial principles. We expect the students will have a lot of fun reading about Cleo,” says Plageman. “We hope it may even inspire some students to become budding entrepreneurs themselves!”

This effort not only promotes reading, and bringing communities together, but this particular book also aides in our efforts to improve financial literacy. Any elementary school may participate. This year we partnered with seven schools between Richmond, Williamsburg, and the Northern Neck, sponsoring over 3900 books for every student.

If your school is not participating in this program, please reach out to your principle and have them contact for more information.

Thanks to everyone who has been a part of the success of this program.

Other program sponsors include Virginia Bankers Association Education Foundation, Washington Redskins Charitable Foundation, Virginia Council on Economic Education and Tackle Reading.

About Read to Them

Read to Them is a Richmond based non-profit promoting family literacy. A growing body of research shows that children who are ready to learn to read more easily and become better readers. Literacy skills provide the basis for a lifetime of learning and productivity. For more information visit

About Virginia Bankers Association Education Foundation

The Virginia Bankers Association (VBA) formed the VBA Education Foundation in 2007 with funding from the majority of VBA member banks. The Foundation’s mission is to improve personal financial literacy and economic education in all public and private schools in the Commonwealth. The Foundation recognizes the importance of economic education and financial literacy in Virginia and supports the banking industry as a key participant in these areas. For more information, visit