ReadOKC having impact on students

NewsOK | January 28th, 2018 

By: Mary Mélon

"The more that you read, the more things you will know. The more that you learn, the more places you'll go." Dr. Seuss said it best, and ReadOKC is proving that focused efforts promoting reading are making a difference for Oklahoma City Public Schools students.

ReadOKC is an initiative to promote the love of reading for the students of OKCPS and in our community and is the first initiative to come out of the OKCPS Compact. The OKCPS Compact is made up of leadership from Oklahoma City Public Schools, Greater Oklahoma City Chamber, United Way of Central Oklahoma, the City of Oklahoma City and The Foundation for Oklahoma City Public Schools.

The mission of the Compact is to implement a collective impact model to address some of the most pressing needs of the district. Literacy and reading were determined as such needs — and ReadOKC was created with the vision to engage the community in reading from the beginning of school through adulthood. Data proves that a child who reads does better in school and in life. Developing the love of reading at an early age sets the groundwork for a lifetime of reading and learning.

ReadOKC launched last spring with a community event that gave every OKCPS elementary student the goal to read 1,200 minutes, or 20 minutes per day through the summer break. The reading challenge was called Get in the Game, and was promoted widely through media and with the help of OKC's professional teams — the Thunder, Dodgers and Energy.

The results from the summer reading challenge were impressive and celebrated with recognition for top readers and assemblies at all 54 elementary schools. Nearly 2,500 students participated and read close to 800,000 minutes. More than 200 students made their goal of reading 1,200 minutes throughout the summer break. The ReadOKC task force members, as well as school leaders, were ecstatic with the results and with the enthusiastic response to the summer promotion and celebration assemblies.

Data tabulated from the Winter Break Reading Challenge, Chill Out and Read, was recently completed and the results are quite impressive. More than 600 students made their reading goal, 2,780 students participated and 454,731 minutes were read during the twenty-day break. These students will be recognized with prizes from Scholastic and the top reader at each school will receive a pizza party for his or her entire class. In addition, the top 10 readers will be recognized at the Feb. 12, Board of Education meeting and will each receive a gift card from myON.

Plans are underway for a Spring Break reading challenge as well as the 2018 Get in the Game summer reading challenge, but ReadOKC isn't just about reading challenges. The task force has project teams working in a number of other areas, including filling our community's reading deserts with Little Libraries and reading rooms and expanding Reading Buddy programs within our schools. Partner development is ongoing and help is always needed. It takes the help of the community to ensure our kids read, learn and go all the places they can go.