More than 60,000 public school students and their families from across Virginia will read the same book on the same schedule starting Friday, March 1. It’s all part of Virginia Reads One Book — a reading program from Richmond-based Read to Them.  Bank of Botetourt and the Virginia Bankers Association Education Foundation (VBAEF) are the proud sponsors of this program at Troutville and Eagle Rock Elementary Schools, where more than 400 students and staff will participate.

“At kick-off events in each school, students will receive their own copies of Cleo Edison Oliver: Playground Millionaire to take home and read with their families,” says Read to Them Program Director Cathy Plageman. “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.”

“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 dogfood 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. “In fact, we hope it may even inspire some students to become budding entrepreneurs themselves!”

“We are proud to again be a statewide sponsor of Virginia Reads One Book. 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. “With the support of Bank of Botetourt and the VBAEF, the school receives a book for every student and complimentary staff copies, both family literacy and financial literacy activities, school assembly suggestions, teacher resources, and both family and community engagement tools. These resources turn a book into a community experience so everyone can enjoy and share the story.”

  1. Lyn Hayth, III, Bank of Botetourt President & CEO stated, “We are thrilled to be able to sponsor Virginia Reads One Book again this year alongside the VBAEF, which builds on other financial literacy efforts that we have going in our community, including our Kids Save program.  We were drawn to this program by not only the financial literacy focus of the book, but also the idea of bringing families together.”

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

For the current list of participating schools in your area, please email