Wednesday, September 30, 2009

My Reading Program Idea

A lot of people have been asking me how my idea for a free reading program in Fountain Valley’s schools was coming along. I’ve had to outline my entire plan at least three times and I’m tired of it. I need to get this down on paper and in the public’s eyes and ears.

For those of you who didn’t know, I am making some pretty big plans to run for a public office in Fountain Valley in the next few years (like 2 to 3). I’m actually thinking about getting a chair at a school board.

You see my whole thing is educating the newer generations around my home town, and getting them involved in their community. But my main focus is reading. I don’t think people read enough to begin with, but total illiteracy is unacceptable and has to be combated.

So my idea to get started off in Fountain Valley politics is a free reading program. Orange County has a county wide program where children can go to a library and have volunteers help them with their reading. Well my plan is to bring the volunteers to schools on certain days for certain classes, and have an hour long reading session with the students.

I thought it would be a great idea because you not only teach kids to read, but you encourage continued reading, and it gives you as the volunteer a chance to open a child’s eyes to a book that he/she has never heard of before.

Another great idea I had for this project was a “Book Drive”, where we would collect books or cash toward new books from people and businesses in the community, and give kids free books. This might also benefit the teachers who are suffering from financial cut backs and have barely any books for their students. The “Book Drive” could support both students on a personal level and teachers on a financial level hence everyone wins.

I would get my volunteers from the high schools in the area, because seniors in high school have to do a certain amount of community service hours before they can pass Government class and graduate. Not only will my program be teaching kids to read, and supplying them and our class rooms with books, it will help teens in high school graduate by completing their community service hours as well as teaching them about civic duty and the importance of being involved.

After sometime I could get someone from lets say city council to sit in on one of these reading events and tell me what they think of it. If they like it then I can ask the city council member to honor our program at city hall. You get to take a nice pretty picture and get a neat little certificate showing that the program was honored by the city. That is my first step to getting closer to running for an office.

But how am I going to do this? How can I get this started?

Well first off I have to meet with a man named Reuben Martinez who works at the Santa Ana Library, and did (so I was told) something very similar to my idea which ended up being highly successful. A friend told me about him and that he has a lot of insight and can help me out with some ideas as to how I’m going to get this program into schools.

So I have to talk to Mr. Martinez and get a little more acquainted with this reading program idea. After that I have to come up with a presentation to give to my old teachers that still remember me. If I can win their support I can move up to the next step and start to seriously present the program to schools.

But I need to first find out if I should present the idea to the school board before I go to the schools themselves. Or should I go to the board after getting teacher support? Although it may not be a bad idea to mix all of these ideas together, because I can get teacher support, support directly from the schools, and then go to the school board.

I’m obviously going to be asked how I plan on doing any of this. How do I plan on getting books? How do I plan on getting volunteers? How do I plan on managing this program? When do I plan on doing these on school site programs?

Well, I have a few answers to all of those questions.

First off, I need to build a website that will contain the information of this program like, what it is, who it runs it, where we can be contacted, how to get involved in the program, how to help the program, etc. Once I have a stable median like that it will be very easy to keep people informed with what is going on.

Secondly, I have tons of old children’s books that I have saved since I was a very young boy. I have all kinds of books that are suitable for students from K-5th grade. But, and someone brought this up to me, I have to make sure that there are no “selected reading lists”(notice I called it ‘selected’ and not suggested). I don’t want to read an awesome story to kids yet be told I can’t because the story isn’t on the reading list.

Thirdly, I will be getting my volunteers from the high schools where I have the support, and especially from high schools where I get support from my old teachers. I can ask teachers to suggest to their students to volunteer for the program so they can get their community service completed. I can also go into Government class rooms and talk to students directly.

And then the most common method would be a mixture of all of these techniques, as well as posting fliers on walls and leaving stacks of info/sign up sheets in class rooms. Also, some friends who went to FVHS with me said they would love to help me, and I could certainly use their help in class rooms to help recruit students.

Fourthly, I have no idea how I’m going to manage this program to be honest. I figure it will be an out-of-house operation, meaning that my house will be the programs HQ. Although, I am going to need other people to help me manage the program, and since some old high school mates said they would help I think I will have no trouble finding a team. I will have to form some type of small committee with them basically, which will gather at my house to meet and to plan and brainstorm.

Fifthly, again I have no structure for this problem yet but I do have a few ideas. For one, I was thinking it could be an hour long session in a teacher’s class room (or more than one per day, depending on how many volunteers we have) where we basically break the children up into groups with a volunteer reader. I mean, not only will the kids be learning and totally expanding their minds, their teachers will have an hour of free time to do whatever else they need to do like admin paper work, grades, and even plan lessons for future classes.

But if that idea doesn’t fly I will suggest that the program be an after school program like homework club/study hall. If parents want their children to participate they can just talk to one of the teachers for info, or just tell their kid that they are going to stay an extra hour after school to join the reading program.

Again, this is a free reading program that is comprised of volunteers that want to help teach kids to read and encourage continued reading. No one will be paying for this as it is all community service type of work which will benefit many, so no one has to worry about who the bill will be passed to.

I want to get as much support from teachers and administration staff as possible, as well as parents and school board members. It shouldn’t be too hard, just a lot of planning and presenting of ideas.

It takes a village to raise a child, and I think with this free reading program that’s exactly what we will be doing; getting the village together to raise the children.

So that’s my plan. Again, any support you could give me would be awesome, and if you would like to help in anyway please let me know. And wish me luck.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Type comments here...