Saturday November 13, 2021

Love of Reading Leads to Love of Learning

Nearly 22 million reading minutes have been logged by Oklahoma City Public Schools students since ReadOKC launched its first reading challenge in summer 2017.  Nearly 3000 students made the goal of reading at least 20 minutes per day during the 2021 Fall Break Reading Challenge and top reading school honors went to Willow Brook Elementary School, Spencer Middle School and John Marshall High School. Each school will proudly host a traveling banner in the front of their schools recognizing their accomplishments.

ReadOKC is a reading and literacy initiative with the mission of instilling a love of reading in our students and community. It was the first out of the block program of the OKCPS Compact and is now led and managed by the Oklahoma City Public Schools Foundation. Reading for pleasure is linked to both academic and social/emotional success. Evidence supports that a child who reads frequently and for pleasure has higher self- esteem, improved concentration and memory skills, better critical thinking skills and larger vocabulary and reading comprehension than peers who read less.

For all of these reasons and more, Oklahoma City Public School includes ReadOKC as a component of their comprehensive reading and literacy plan. An intense focus on reading and literacy is always key to curriculum leaders, but is especially important as our educators work to reduce pandemic learning losses.

ReadOKC has three evidence based focuses developed to build a love of reading in our students: Promoting reading 20 minutes per day through school break reading challenges incentivizes students for reaching a goal, and offers the added benefit of building an individual and school-wide culture of reading and friendly competition. Placing caring adult volunteers as Reading Buddies within our schools (virtually throughout the pandemic) gives students the ability to receive extra reading attention as well as building strong connections with individuals committed to their success. Providing access to reading materials happens through Free Little Libraries located outside of each OKCPS school site, where students have the ability to take books and return them when school isn’t in session. And, the ReadOKC On the Go mobile book bus is rolling and visiting each school, allowing our kids to pick a book of their own to build a home library.

Reading proficiency is directly tied to student success. Developing a love of reading is tied to lifelong learning and opens a world of opportunities for our kids. ReadOKC gives the community an opportunity to impact both.

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