Salinas teacher recognized as champion of early literacy

Photo: Blake Doherty and Barbara Greenway

Salinas, California —Blake Doherty, 5th grade teacher at Creekside Elementary School in the Alisal Union School District, was recognized and awarded by Read to Me Project for piloting and continuing the early-literacy program in his classroom every year since the program launched in 2011. The surprise award and recognition took place on February 12, 2019 Creekside Elementary School with presentations by Read to Me Project Founder Barbara Greenway and Creekside Elementary School Principal Jose Juan Urquizo.

The program was founded by Barbara Greenway while working as an Alisal Union School District (AUSD) Speech and Language Specialist. During her time with the AUSD, kindergarten teachers sent countless numbers of children to her with questions of concern. In most cases there was nothing wrong with the children other than being critically behind- as much as two years – in language, vocabulary and cognitive knowledge. After thirty years remedially addressing the low-literacy situation among kindergarteners, Ms. Greenway left her position and launched the prevention-based Read to Me Project to help prepare children for kindergarten. She approached Mr. Doherty and two other teachers at Creekside Elementary, asking if they would pilot her concept for providing early literacy experiences to very young children.  

RtMP uniquely reaches children ages 6 months to 5 years by coaching 4th, 5th and 6th grade students to read to the little ones at home. The program began with 50 students reading to 60 little ones. Eight years later, Read to Me Project is being implemented in 126 classrooms with 1,579 students reading to 1,859 little ones.

“While Read to Me Project’s program coordinators work to keep implementation as seamless and simple as possible for busy teachers,” says Barbara Greenway, “success is based on each teacher’s commitment to supporting their students who are in the program. Blake Doherty has been a true champion for Read to Me Project. He said ‘Yes’ without hesitation to including the program in his classroom and has implemented it ever since!  Blake is an exceptional teacher of 5th grade students at Creekside Elementary in AUSD. He is calm, organized and engaged, committed to providing his students with the best education possible. He believes that reading to young children early and often sets the course for a lifetime of success. He is the proud father of a 2-year-old daughter who he reads to daily.”

Read to Me Project (RtMP) is a prevention-based program that uniquely reaches infants, toddlers and pre-k aged children through their 4th, 5th and 6th grade siblings.  Those students are making impacts on their young family members that are deep and far reaching. Read to Me Project is touching student readers, little ones (ages 0 to 5 years) and their parents in rich and nurturing ways by building student reading confidence, sibling bonds, kindergarten readiness and disrupting the generational cycle of low-literacy among Monterey County’s underserved families.  The program is more cost-effective than remediation. RtMP is a loving, unique and simple model for reaching children and families by providing books and training to 4th, 5th and 6th grade students to read effectively to youngest family members – inspiring curiosity, wonder and love for learning and books.

For more information about Read to Me Project visit  

About Do Good

Do Good is a free service open to help nonprofit agencies on the Central Coast promote their services or events. Press releases provided by charities are posted verbatim. Postings on Do Good do not necessarily reflect the views of Voices of Monterey Bay.