Read to Succeed

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The Problem

Fairbury High School is a school with a lot to offer to its students. We have a variety of extracurricular activities, a great athletics program, and dedicated teachers. However, many students don't take advantage of the great opportunities that FHS provides. After noticing the large number of students uninterested in reading, I spoke with the administration about our high school's declining reading scores on standardized tests, and decided to do something about this problem. As President of our school's FCCLA chapter I volunteered to chair a Literacy Project. But why just the high school? Isn't literacy important for all ages? Absolutely, I wasn't going to stop at the high school. The Literacy Project would also take place at our local elementary school, assisted living home for the elderly, center for mentally and/or physically challenged patients, and the community hospital.

Plan of Action

The steps to create this project involved a lot of planning. I worked with my FCCLA advisor to create new ideas and ways to utilize our chapter's talents with the needs in our community. I gathered a literacy committee to assist me in the planning and details of this complex project. We met/will continue to meet every Wednesday morning. At every monthly FCCLA meeting, I encourage members to sign up for this beneficial project. This project has just began, and I am already seeing an impact in the high school FCCLA members involved. Thirty members have volunteered to assist with the monthly reading activity at the elementary school. Seeing students excited about reading is one of the projects main goals. The elementary students are impressed with the fact that high schoolers like to read. They have came up to me a number of times to tell me about a new book that they have read. Although this project has just begun, the impact that it has already made on the people involved is tremendous. I know that this project will be a success because of the great number of high school students who are as passionate about this project, as I am.

Project Updates

The literacy project has been a success so far! In October I worked with the Family Career and Community Leaders of America chapter to give out books at the "Trunk or Treating" event. The students loved receiving the books; I could tell the parents were excited as well. We gave out over 800 donated books on Halloween to our small community (population 4,000). We also visited classrooms in October and did a kick-off with literacy activity. In November, volunteers and I, covered every elementary classroom (12) and read a book to the students and played a literacy activity.

In December, I wanted to get the students reading on their own, so we decided to do one-on-one reading with the elementary students. It was a great opportunity to show them that reading is important and you are never "to cool" to read. AFter that we wrote letters to Santa. Also in December, at the high school, I encouraged students to submit their Accelerated Reading TOPS report into a giant Christmas Box. After two weeks, there were 150 reports and I drew out the lucky winner of a $50 gift card. I thought it was neat to see how the high school was excited to take their tests and read more books.

For January, I pursuaded the media specialists at my high school to donate an ink-jet printer to Region V center for mentally/physically handicapped patients. Next week I, and a couple other volunteers, will be visiting Region V to present them with the gift and a new keyboarding game for their computers. It is our goal that with the keyboarding game they will improve their reading, writing, and typing skills.

Next week I also will be attending a planning meeting for the "Read Across America" program at the elementary school. I have some great ideas for this project and I hope the teachers will enjoy collaborating with the high school students to promote literacy!

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