Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Community Spotlight: CHI Supports Volunteer Reading Program

CHI Communications Specialist Heather Chambers with OB Elementary students.

While the end of the school year is typically a time for celebration, for me, it was bittersweet to say goodbye to a group of students in Ocean Beach Elementary School’s classroom 7.

For the second year in a row, I had the opportunity to share my love of reading with a classroom full of first and second graders. I am grateful that CHI values its employees and their personal pursuits and has allowed me the time to read to the children each Wednesday morning.

The Rolling Readers program is designed to reach underprivileged children and encourage lifelong learning that starts with reading at the grade-school level. It pairs adult volunteers with schools that offer the free lunch program.

Research shows that children who aren't reading proficiently by the end of third grade are four times less likely to finish high school on time. If they are poor and not reading proficiently, they are 13 times less likely to finish high school. And for children who live in areas of concentrated poverty, the prospects are even grimmer.

In order to encourage leaning in this fun, “free time,” we explored the world of fantasy, adventure, mystery and even foreign language.

The highlight of the Rolling Readers program is its annual book drive. This year, each student took home a copy of “City Dog, Country Frog” by author Mo Willems. It is satisfying to know that they will have a book to call their own, to share with friends and encourage reading among family members.

As these students move forward with their education, hopefully they will find comfort and joy in reading. I certainly found joy in reading to them.

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