One of our Club’s longest-running community efforts is our focus on Literacy. This involves several activities:
Reading Buddies & Pen Pals
Our members serve as Reading Buddies and Pen Pal Buddies with first and second grade students at Roosevelt Magnet School.
Members spend in-person, one-on-one time with children weekly, practicing reading and literacy skills. Our Reading Buddies also serve as positive adult mentors who listen and build relationships with these students.
During the pandemic we started our Pen Pal program. Our members mail a short letter and a book one a month to their pen pal, to encourage reading and form a friendship. During the 2020-21 school year we had 106 first and second grade Pen Pals.
Funding Literacy Needs
Each year we work with school leaders at Roosevelt Primary School to provide grant funds for literacy needs. Projects include purchasing:
• New library books for early readers
• Social-emotional books for a mobile library for teachers
• Play-Away devices, batteries, headphones and books
Little Free Libraries
The Rotary Club of Peoria North sponsors two Little Free Libraries at Roosevelt Magnet School. We stock these libraries each month with books that are free for students to take and keep. In 2021 we refurbished our original Little Free Library with a new door and a new paint job.
Summer Reading Kits
At the end of the school year, we provide our Reading Buddy and Pen Pal friends with books and snacks in a reusable bag to encourage summer reading and healthy eating.
Guest Reader Day
Prior to the pandemic, our members visited Roosevelt Magnet School to read to a book to every classroom in grade K-4. Our guest readers read a selected book to the class, discussed the book with students and shared information about themselves and their careers. All the books were then given to the Roosevelt school library.
Our members led sessions with high school students at the Peoria Regional Learning Center about news literacy to help them become smart consumers of news and information. We taught them how to find reliable sources and how to recognize “fake” news.