Rockford Rotary Club has provided scholarship funding for the Rockford Public Schools (RPS) Summer Reading Program for several years. Last year, the funds raised fell short of the increased need. “Reading is critical for success in school and life,” said Lisa Jacobs, executive director of RPS Community Services, “and the summer reading program is an important strategy to help young students be successful readers.” The three-week program, each July, helps young students maintain what they learned in the previous school year and prepare for the new school year. Rockford Rotary President Sue Bodenner designated this year’s annual Duck Race as the fundraiser to fund the summer reading program at a higher level and have additional funds for a special literacy project. As Jacobs reviews summer reading program needs and ideas with Bodenner, another type of planning is happening. Local businesses are sponsoring Big Daddy Ducks for $100 each for the first race on June 9 during Start of Summer. “There are just two rules for the Big Daddy Duck Race of 22 large ducks: no motor and no whining if you lose!” stated Rotarian Erik Luxhoj, chair. The Facebook page has evidence of ducks going through training and enhancements and “all in support of better readers” said Corner Bar Manager John Vanaman. Rogue River Red Hats to the staff of Rockford Ambulance all agree that it was an irresistible way to raise funds for this good cause—and they might just win the unique traveling trophy designed by Justin Kauffman and Gary Davis. There is just one big duck left. The 2,000 tickets for the regular Rockford Rotary Duck Race go on sale before May 1. Check Facebook page “Big Daddy Duck Race” to find out businesses involved, where to get tickets and the prizes being offered to get readers of The Rockford Squire involved to help young readers in our community. For more information e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org or call Erik Luxhog at (616) 884-0694.
Summer Reading Program
by CINDY KITZROW Director of Library and Media Services Each year the Rockford Public Schools’ (RPS) reading specialists and library staff have a tradition of promoting summer reading. The theme for the 2009 Summer Reading Program is “Reach the World… Read.” The primary purpose of the program is to encourage students to read throughout the summer. The students are given a goal sheet. They record the books or minutes they spend reading. The students are asked to read 10 grade/age appropriate books or spend 15 hours reading throughout the summer. Each student who completes their reading goal will be invited to participate in a special celebration when they return to school in the fall. Research and beginning-of-year scores show that children who do not read consistently over the summer lose fluency and are prone to more reading “errors” in the fall. The summer-reading effect on student achievement is well-researched. The long summer breaks the rhythm of instruction which leads to forgetting and requires a significant amount of review when the student returns in the fall. Reading programs have a positive effect in showing literacy growth. Studies support the findings that those who read more know more. The culmination of our summer reading program will be celebrated with a one-day reading event. The Rockford Rotary Club is also charged to improve/increase literacy through various activity involvements. On Saturday, August 29, Rotary is sponsoring a reading celebration called “Reading Rocks in Rockford.” The Krause Memorial Library along with the RPS library staff, reading specialists and teachers are helping to plan numerous events for children of all ages. We will have Michigan authors, celebrity readers, and much more performing on the Garden Park stage. There will also be various reading activities throughout the city. The community will also help kick off the RPS K-12 fall reading program called “Pennies for Peace.” We will be reading the books Three Cups of Tea and Listen to the Wind by Greg Mortenson. “Pennies for Peace” is a service-learning program. We will be collecting pennies to help support a school in the remote regions of Afghanistan and Pakistan. We all want to share our vision to reach communities around the world to increase and improve literacy.