In the Game
by Mary Melon
Oklahoma City Public elementary schools got “In the Game” in a big way this summer with ReadOKC. ReadOKC , a volunteer led initiative of the OKCPS Compact, was launched last May as a summer reading program to challenge all OKCPS pre-Kindergarten to 6th graders to Get in the Game and read at least 20 minutes per day. Summer reading is a critical facture in reducing the well documented “summer slide” during these months. These losses are especially prevalent among low income students who don’t have as much access to reading during the summer.
Assemblies will be held at every elementary school in the district to celebrate reading efforts throughout the summer. Top readers from every school will receive prizes donated by McDonald’s and Scholastic and the top five schools will be surprised with visits from the OKC Thunder Girls. Top readers from the district will be recognized and awarded prizes at a future Board of Education meeting. Other activities included a reading room at Penn Square that drew 500 families and a visit by Rumble and others, a first pitch thrown in a dodger game by a top reader and celebrity reading to kids by Superintendent Aurora Lora and Representative Cindi Munson at the Zoo and the Boys and Girls Club.
One of ReadOKC’s primary partners, myOn, tracked reading on their digital platform and showed significant gains from last summer. OKCPS students read three times more than last summer, to be exact. Nearly 40,000 books were accessed and a total of 260,340 minutes were logged. ReadOKC will be adding other reading data to these numbers, but the results so far are worthy of excitement.
The Energy FC recognized ReadOKC at a recent match. The Oklahoman, KOCO TV and Tyler Media donated ad space totaling thousands of dollars. Community partners for this initiative have offered help in so many areas and these efforts have made a tremendous impact on awareness for summer reading.
ReadOKC isn’t just a summer reading program, however. It is a movement to promote the love of reading. Data shows that the more reading students do, the more successful they are in school. Reading is a proven way to help eliminate the achievement gap. It is a skill that will serve students well in school and in life. We depend on our teachers to provide reading instruction, but reading must be practiced as well. It must be done regularly to retain the skill. It is truly a use or lose proposition. We must look at reading skills as a community-wide endeavor that everyone has a stake in. I believe, developing a culture of reading is vital to our schools and to our community.
There is a large group of individuals committed to the ReadOKC movement, but any interested party is invited to join. Please message me at firstname.lastname@example.org for more information. Rotary Club 29 is already doing an important part as a valuable community partner of the Oklahoma City Public Schools. It contributes to ReadOKC as part of the weekly speaker’s gift and members continue to faithfully support OKCPS. On behalf of the students of Oklahoma City Public Schools, thank you very much for this, and anything else you may do to benefit the culture of reading in our community, and help us stay “in the game”.