AASA Partners with ‘Read to Them’ to Promote Literacy in Communities

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Contact:
James Minichello
703-875-0723
703-774-6953 (cell)
jminichello@aasa.org

Alexandria, Va. – (May  13, 2015) – AASA, The School Superintendents Association, has partnered with Read to Them, the creators of One District, One Book, which promotes family literacy and creates a culture of reading in communities across the country by getting students, staff and parents of all the elementary schools in a district reading the same book at the same time.

Research shows that reading to children helps them grow vocabulary and listen better and longer. Furthermore, a recent study by Scholastic indicates that more than 8 in 10 children (83%) across age groups say they love or like being read aloud to at home—the main reason being that it was a special time with parents.

One District, One Book is a program designed to increase reading not just in schools but throughout an entire community. A chapter book is chosen, every student receives a copy and every family reads that book at home together over the course of about one month. School activities build further excitement around reading.

Read to Them recently launched the Texas Reads One Book program, through which tens of thousands of elementary students across Texas are all reading Betty G. Birney’s The World According to Humphrey simultaneously, along with their parents. The program kicked off on April 27 with Dallas Cowboys head coach Jason Garrett doing a videotaped reading of the book’s first chapter.

“Not only does the One District, One Book program encourage students to read, it promotes a long-lasting love for learning and a love for books,” said Daniel A. Domenech, executive director, AASA. “When I was a superintendent, I saw firsthand the buzz and excitement generated by reading, which is why we are pleased to create this partnership.”

Research also supports the effectiveness of the One District, One Book program. Elementary schools in one Virginia community saw their students’ passage rate on the third-grade state reading assessment rise by more than 30 percentage points after participating in the community reading program. Meanwhile, 94 percent of parents surveyed in a participating district in New York believed the program would either cause their children to read more often or would reinforce their current love of reading.

For the past year, Ponca City Public Schools in Ponca City, Okla. has been utilizing the One District, One Book program. “The program makes reading at home with your children a topic of discussion throughout the entire community,” said David Pennington, president, AASA and superintendent of Ponca City Public Schools. “One District, One Book is a great way to focus your community on literacy. It also provides parents and grandparents with a rare opportunity to share books with children.”

“What we’re after is a shift in our communities toward family literacy,” said Gary Anderson, the founder of Read to Them. “It’s not about making a change overnight. It is about creating a paradigm shift in the value of reading throughout the school district and the surrounding community.”       

Read to Them supplies specific content to enable districts to implement the program, including introductory materials, trivia questions, activity ideas, and books for every student. A personal consultant is available who can help you prepare to launch the program in your community.

###

About Read to Them
Read to Them is a non-profit organization promoting family literacy in dozens of districts and hundreds of schools across the United States. Its mission is to create a culture of reading in homes, schools and communities by helping districts implement the One District, One Book program. Read to Them encourages and enables reading together at home by providing participating districts and schools with tools, resources, guidance and support.

About AASA
AASA, The School Superintendents Association, founded in 1865, is the professional organization for more than 13,000 educational leaders in the United States and throughout the world. AASA advocates for the highest quality public education for all students, and develops and supports school system leaders.