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Mount Union, Early Childhood Education Alliance Partner for Videos Supporting Childhood Literacy

August 30, 2019

ALLIANCE — With the goal of supporting literacy in area children, members of the University of Mount Union community and the Early Childhood Education Alliance (ECEA) created a series of videos to provide opportunities for parents and young children to enjoy reading books together. 

The series, titled DiscoveRead, features twelve brief videos appropriate for children 2-5 years of age. Each video focuses on a different children’s book being read in an enthusiastic fashion. The books are based on current evidence related to language and literacy development. Each one emphasizes specific language and literacy concepts such as rhyme, repetition, or vocabulary. 

As tablets and phones continue to be staples of entertainment in the lives of busy families, DiscoveRead enables children to have a reading experience that feels personal and engaging. If a story is of interest to the child, it can be a starting point in conversations. To extend the literacy experience, the books are available for purchase and include activities to reinforce the concepts in the story.

ECEA is a non-profit organization that aims to support, promote, and create enriching early experiences that benefit young children in Alliance, Ohio. It is a collaboration of the City of Alliance, the Alliance City Schools and the University of Mount Union. 

“The goal of the series is to bring literacy concepts to life through compelling interactive storytelling,” said Dr. Margot Kelman, chair of the board of ECEA, as well as an author of one of the books used in the series.

Along with Kelman, faculty, staff and students from Alliance City Schools and Mount Union were involved in creating the series. Mark McConnell, associate professor of marketing, also sits on the ECEA board and produced the series, while Barbara Lyons, senior administrative assistant to the dean of the College of Arts and Humanities, Kevin Kern, associate professor and chair of the Department of Theatre and Natalie Kern, teacher in Alliance City Schools, were all readers for the series. 

Mount Union students involved in the project included videographer and editor Austin Graham, a senior marketing major of Louisville, Ohio, co-producer Marissa Swonger, a senior marketing major of Alliance, Ohio, and public relations graduate Alysha Davis, of North Canton, Ohio, who was also a co-producer. 

McConnell is also working with students in his integrated marketing communication course this fall to create plans to assist in the promotion of the DiscoveRead series moving forward. 

The series was made possible through the generous book donation from Dr. Shari Robertson (Dynamic Resources, LLC) and a grant through Mount Union from the Burton D. Morgan Foundation of Hudson, Ohio. 

View the entire series by going to and searching “ECEA DiscoveREAD.”

For more information on, or to purchase the books used in the video series, visit