District elementary schools celebrated the 19th annual AMERICA READS Reading is Contagious on Oct. 23. The program focuses community attention on the importance of reading aloud to young children to improve literacy and demonstrate the joy of reading through collective citizen involvement.
In the Cedar Rapids metro area, the event has been a fall tradition since 1997, bringing hundreds of volunteers into area schools to share a favorite book with students. The initiative is a collaborative effort between the Cedar Rapids Community, College Community, Linn-Mar, Marion Independent, Summit, and Xavier Catholic schools, as well as the five public libraries: Cedar Rapids, Ely, Fairfax, Hiawatha, and Marion. Several area businesses and organizations provide financial support. As many as 2,500 volunteers visit elementary schools during the two-day period. Some 13,000 students in grades preschool through five benefit from interaction with the enthusiastic readers. Participants range from high school and college students and parents to school neighbors, retirees, business leaders and local “celebrities.” The community volunteers share their love of reading by doing just that—reading a favorite story to a small group or classroom of students.
“This community reading event is a fun way to emphasize the importance of reading,” explained Marcia Hughes, District Community Relations Supervisor. “Numerous studies indicate that children who have been read to on a regular basis are the ones who become good readers. The U.S. Department of Education’s research indicates that reading just 30 minutes a day with a child significantly increases a child’s reading ability. By sharing a story, volunteers celebrate their love of reading with students. That special book might just become someone else’s favorite! After all, reading is contagious!”
Click here to see photos from America Reads 2015