Reader’s Digest Salutes Parent Literacy Champions

Vincent Smith and Shatannah Johnson of Florence, South Carolina have been named the Reader’s Digest 2014 Parent Literacy Champions.

pchp gala
From left to right: President of Reader’s Digest Foundation, Susan Russ; Reader’s Digest CEO, Bonnie Kintzer; the Reader’s Digest Parent Literacy Champions, Vincent Smith and Shatannah Johnson; and Parent-Child Home Program’s CEO, Sarah Walzer at the November 12, 2014 Parent-Child Home Program’s Literacy Champions Gala.


Preparing Son for School Inspires Father to Pursue GED

Local Florence, South Carolina Residents To Receive Award At NY Gala

NEW YORK, NEW YORK, November 12, 2014 – Reader’s Digest Association in collaboration with The Parent-Child Home Program (“PCHP”), the leading early childhood literacy organization that promotes active parental involvement in early literacy and language development to ensure school readiness, today announced that Vincent Smith and Shatannah Johnson of Florence, South Carolina have been named the Reader’s Digest 2014 Parent Literacy Champions. They will receive the award this evening at the Parent-Child Home Program’s Literacy Champions Gala to be held at the New York Athletic Club in New York City.

“We are so pleased to honor Vincent and Shatannah as our 2014 Parent Literacy Champions Award for the work they have done both to support their children’s school readiness and school success and to achieve their own educational goals,” said Bonnie Kintzer, President and Chief Executive Officer of Reader’s Digest Association. “Early childhood literacy is an incredibly worthy cause that all of us at Reader’s Digest are proud to support. We also want to thank our literacy partner, the Parent-Child Home Program, an organization that has been successfully working to improve early childhood literacy for nearly 50 years with its uniquely effective parent-child model. We are particularly grateful to PCHP for their special role in supporting Vincent, Shatannah, and their four sons in realizing their dreams.“

“We are very proud of Vincent and Shatannah, and honored to have had the opportunity to work with them to achieve their school readiness goals for their youngest son, William, and ultimately the educational and career ambitions of Vincent,” said Sarah Walzer, Chief Executive Officer of The Parent-Child Home Program. “Our program is all about providing parents with the knowledge, skills, and tools to ensure their children have the language, literacy, and social-emotional skills they need to succeed once they enter school. We often find that the Program has a positive impact on the entire family in wonderful ways that go far beyond the core school readiness goals.”

The Story Behind This Year’s Award

In the summer of 2012, Vincent and Shatannah enrolled their son William in the Parent-Child Home Program site in Florence, South Carolina School District #1, which focuses on helping under-resourced families prepare their children for school success. PCHP’s early literacy school readiness model is based on providing twice-weekly home visits for families with young children (ages 2 – 4) where home visitors use gifts of curricular items, books and educational toys, to show parents the most effective way to read, talk, and play with their children so they can be better prepared to succeed in school. William’s father, inspired by William’s progress and with the encouragement of their PCHP home visitor and his family, returned to school to get his GED. Both William and his father achieved their goals, graduating! Now, William is doing wonderfully in school and Vincent is a star employee at his full-time job. He and Shatannah can now begin to live their dream of supporting their four boys and watching them grow and learn.

About Parent Child Home Program

The Parent-Child Home Program’s (PCHP) nationwide network of program sites provides under-resourced families with the necessary tools to ensure their children achieve their greatest potential in school and in life. Since 1965, PCHP has been assisting underserved communities in replicating and expanding this proven school readiness program that builds early parent-child verbal interaction and learning at home. Through twice-weekly visits by highly trained community-based early literacy specialists, PCHP provides families the skills, materials (books and educational toys), and support to help parents engage and teach their children. Almost 50 years of research shows that the Program effectively increases school readiness, decreases the need for special education services before grade 3 by 50%, and increases participants’ high school graduation rates by over 30% to the same level as their middle income peers.

For more information please go to

Popular Videos

Reader's Digest
Originally Published in Reader's Digest