Today it began. It began where few people expected. Chicot Elementary in Southwest Little Rock.

When we think of innovative movements in Arkansas, we aren’t inclined to think they would begin in southwest Little Rock. But, this one has. It’s a reading tour that will visit every Little Rock and Pulaski County elementary school.

Our goal? To raise our literacy level, to ignite imaginations county-wide, to plant seeds in young minds that will pay big dividends within a few short years.

Ambitious? You bet it is. But, I am about to be joined by a battalion of like minded adults and over the next school year, you will meet them as the journey progresses through each and every school.

As for Chicot, there was an added degree of difficulty, because by fourth grade, books are a tough sell. Teachers and administrators tell me, ”This is when we lose em.”

Because first, second and sometimes third graders read to please teachers and adults, but don’t reach for books as entertainment.

This is where I, Craig O’Neill, and my soon to be commissioned battalion will come in. We will be working to change hearts and minds and showing how every book offers a great adventure.

Just like the one I read with a group of Chicot’s fourth graders. It’s entitled “Wonder,” by RJ Palacio and it is magnificent.

Watch for more on, but remember this date, August 17, 2017. It is the beginning of the Great Empowerment.