ReadOKC reading challenge shows success

November 19, 2019

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The theme was Leave No Page Unturned, and 4,489 OKCPS students took that to heart as they participated in the ReadOKC Fall Break Reading Challenge.

ReadOKC, an initiative launched by the OKCPS Compact in 2017, has zeroed in on three key areas to promote literacy and the love of reading in Oklahoma City Public Schools.

These areas include reading challenges during school breaks, which give students the goal to read at least 20 minutes per day; access to books through Free Little Libraries located outside schools and in some neighborhood parks; and Reading Buddies, a program that has placed and trained more than 500 caring adults in schools to read and mentor with students.

The reading challenges have had significant growth since the first one was held in the summer of 2017.

This fall, students logged 1,134,009 minutes of reading with 3,626 making their goal. This compared to fall break 2018, when 3,363 students participated and 1,576 made their goal. And, compared to summer 2017 when 2,450 students participated and 275 made their goal.

That is remarkable growth on all counts and shows how our school faculty, students and families are realizing the value of reading and the excitement created by ReadOKC.

Data is critically important to measure success of any program, but how ReadOKC affects kids also tells a great story.

Kimberly G. was the top reading student in OKCPS for the Fall Break Reading Challenge, logging 1,100 minutes during the nine-day span. The grand prize, donated by community partner Devon Energy, was a special book nook, filled with brand new books for Kimberly’s home library. Kimberly is a 5th grade student at Taft 5th Grade Center, which was also the top reading middle school. (Principal Cody Stull promised his students that he would publicly shave his head if they won the top middle school designation. We hope he has a warm hat!)

Kimberly’s parents and sister came to school to be part of the presentation and to take home the Book Nook last week. There was joyous celebration and smiles that went ear to ear from Kimberly’s family as well as faculty at Taft as the big reveal happened.

Kimberly’s mom shared with ReadOKC manager Abbie Vaughan that Kimberly has previously kept her books in a book shelf made from a cardboard box.

We do this work for Kimberly and all the students of OKCPS. We do this work for our families as well.

Read Mary Mélon's original Oklahoman editorial.