Each year our Rotary club picks an elementary school to partner with on a literacy project. This year's partnership was with PrestonPublic School nestled in a residential area of Preston across from St. Clement's Church. According to Principal Don Oberle. "Literacy is a key focus for us, with teachers participating in numerous professional learning opportunities that enhance student learning experiences".



To coincide with "TV Turnoff Week", we kicked things off with the Rotary Reading Challenge which ran from Monday, April 19th until Sunday, April 25th. Students received one ballot for every 20 minutes they read during the week to qualify for prizes donated by our club. The goal was to have all students participate in the challenge and when it was all said and done, the students read over 25,000 minutes during the week!


The following week was Guest Reader Week (April 26-30). We really enjoyed coming in and reading to the students. The kids were great and we were made to feel very welcome by everyone in the school community. 


We held our regular Rotary meeting at PrestonPublic School on May 7th followed by a special Recognition Ceremony after the morning announcements. It was great to have many of the school staff join us for our Rotary meeting.


At the Recognition Ceremony, our special guest author, Jo Ellen Bogart, read her book Jeremiah Learns to Read, about an old man learning to read, followed by two teachers making with a connection from her story to Preston Public's focus on the key of Flexibility.


We then presented $25 gift cards from Chapters and certificates to the divisional winners of the Reading Challenge along with a complete set of Brady Brady books signed by the illustrator, Chuck Temple to one lucky winner. The kids burst into spontaneous applause when we presented a symbolic cheque for our $1,000 donation to the school library.


This is what Principal Don Oberle had to say after this year's literacy project.


"The impact of the Rotary Reading Challenge was tremendous on our school community.  It resulted in a major focus on reading and profoundly increased our student engagement in reading and responding to and discussing literacy.  As a result, the importance of reading and joy of reading was also highlighted.  All of this was spurred by the incentive prizes offered."


"In addition, the Guest Readers from the Rotary Club provided great role modeling for our students as to how important literacy and reading are in our lives.  The guests put a great deal of effort into making a mark on our students!"


"Finally, the Reading Challenge provided us an opportunity to meet and hear directly from a real, live author who shared such valuable information about what it means to write stories.  The actual sharing of a story with the entire school was invaluable."


"Preparing students to be literate in the 21st Century is a complex and challenging task.  Support from the parent community and the community-at-large is crucial.  Participation in the Rotary Club Reading was a tremendously positive experience and a great help to promoting literacy and the importance of reading in our entire community, and is a process that we can not easily create without such tremendous support!"


We really enjoyed working with PrestonPublic School this year and it's easy to see why PPS is the only school in the region to be asked to apply for a Ministry of Education designation as a "School on the Move".