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Literacy

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11/14/2011

Ten years ago, our school system began a school and community campaign entitled, What Book are YOU Reading?  This campaign asked for all students and community members to engage in reading a book and talking about it.  This led to the beginning of many small private book clubs as well as a quarterly/semi-annual community-wide book club.  During this two-year campaign our students and community members kept track of their reading minutes.  The first year we read over 10 million minutes and the second year we read nearly 25 million minutes.  At the end of each year, we had a huge community celebration unveiling the minutes we read as a community.  We are modeling our current Rachel’s Challenge Initiative of creating a community of kindness and compassion after this successful reading endeavor.

As a school district, our reading & writing scores at our high school level remain among the very top at a regional and state level.  The students currently in our high school were elementary students during this huge focus on literacy.  The staff and I have talked on many occasions about renewing and re-energizing the importance of all of our students, not only becoming proficient readers and writers, but having the desire to want to read and write.

I am often asked to speak at regional and state level meetings and conferences.  Whenever I do this, I am always asked about our literacy efforts in Enumclaw and Black Diamond.  During these very public campaigns we were recognized in several publications including the book 500 Ways to Change the World. Together with the Enumclaw Regional Healthcare Foundation we started the Books for Babies Program where every baby born at St. Elizabeth Hospital receives a new book.  In addition, the parents receive information on the importance of reading aloud to children.  We do have a reputation as a school district with a focus on literacy.

In this month of Thanksgiving, I am grateful for your support of building a literate community.  In sharing a bit of history in the previous paragraphs, I would now like to ask for your help.  We would love for you to join us in recommitting and sustaining our desire to be a literate school district and community.  We would encourage you to talk with your children and grandchildren about the books they are reading and then share what you are reading.  If you haven’t been to the Enumclaw Library or the King County Library in Black Diamond recently, set a goal to visit one in the next week.  Consider picking out the perfect book for a loved one during the holidays.

I’m currently reading Coach Wooden:  The Seven Principles that Shaped his Life and Will Change Yours. What book are YOU reading?

Until next week, Happy Learning!

Mike