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June 27, 2018

Dive into Reading

As Martin Luther King, Jr. said, “Life’s most persistent and urgent question is, ‘what are you doing for others?’”

To help a child improve his/her ability to read and spark the interest of a younger generation to enjoy reading and learning has been priceless.

The very first day I arrived at Gecko’s on State Road 70, I eagerly awaited meeting the kiddo I’d be mentoring for the next month. It was inspiring to look around the room and see the other volunteers, who were also looking forward to engaging with the children. Everyone there had committed to dedicating one morning each week (some volunteering multiple days, too!) during June to help support Dive into Reading. Dive into Reading aims to improve children’s reading levels by combating the “summer slide.” Throughout the weeks, volunteers met with the children, helped develop their reading skills, and assisted each child in conceptualizing what they were reading. Reading sessions were also fueled with a delicious breakfast, a pretty awesome perk if you ask me!

It was fun to see the enjoyment of the students during “read alouds” as animated teachers engaged all participants with stories during breakfast.

This past week, I looked forward to meeting with my reading buddy again. As we sat down at the table before breakfast, she was excited to share how many books she read since we last met, and I was impressed! This rising second grader read almost 20 books in one week! The students received bracelets for the number of books they read in addition to a bracelet ceremony to celebrate their accomplishments. Her face lit up as she walked back to the table with multiple bracelets in hand!

One highlight has been seeing a developing interest in reading and watching students’ confidence grow to take on any learning challenge.

I extend gratitude toward the Hornes for their dedication to children’s learning and expanding the Dive into Reading to multiple locations to reach more than 350 kids in the area. Also, many thanks to the Suncoast Campaign for Grade-Level Reading with funding provided by The Patterson Foundation, and to the other organizations participating that are helping make it possible. Thanks to Sokos Social, the company I work for, for allowing time off to be a part of this remarkable program!

It was wonderful to witness each student’s growth in their reading journey as they tackled their Summer Reading Book Challenge!

Take a look at photo galleries from week two!
Dive into Reading: Week 2 – South Florida Museum / Rogers Garden
Dive into Reading: Week 2 – South Florida Museum / Ballard
Dive into Reading: Week 2 – Geckos on 70/Oneco / Samoset
Dive into Reading: Week 2 – Landside / Able
Dive into Reading: Week 2 – Cortez / Seabreeze
Dive into Reading: Week 2 – Cortez/Moody

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