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Actress Jennifer Garner, a Save the Children Artist Ambassador, asked American Congress and US President Barack Obama for additional funding for West Virginia early childhood education (ECE).

A Save the Children report last year revealed that 68% of America’s fourth grade children are reading below grade level, and West Virginia Governor, Joe Manchin, says that in his state it’s nearly half.

Charleston Daily Mail reported that Garner and Manchin’s plan is for the state to fund three program locations and Save the Children to fund a further three. The programs would provide books for children and employ people from the local communities. VP and managing director of Save the Children’s US programs, Mark Shriver, said the funds would be spent on improving literacy programs in rural parts of the state.

“There is so much unmet potential right here in West Virginia,” said Garner. “The cycle of poverty in this state is going on for generations and generations and generations, and we hope we can provide a new energy to help the kids reach their true potential and avoid that,” reported Charleston Daily Mail.

“Literacy is the most important thing you can give a child. If you can teach them to read, they can do anything.”

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