As any parent knows, when kids get excited about something, it consumes them. Think about all the crazy toys, clothes, and food you’ve purchased because your kid “had to have it.” While this obsessive nature of children can lead to some uphill battles for parents, it can also be a great ally. If we can get kids hyped about healthy activities, it can lead to some phenomenal outcomes.
Getting kids excited about reading might seem like an impossible task, but thanks to about a hundred and fifty volunteers and a program called “The Gift of Literacy,” it’s an annual tradition in Springfield, OR. Here’s how it works:
About 550 kids take a field trip to Lane Community College to experience The Gift of Literacy. The army of volunteers guide first grade students through their literacy adventure, including guest appearances from literary mascots like Curious George, Clifford, and Fancy Nancy.
We had a couple of our kind-hearted employees volunteer at the event, and they recalled their story. Here’s a recap from our very own, Katie:
When the kids arrived, they all sat in a large, college auditorium. They met the founder of the program, were told a story, and made a promise to read a book every day for the entire summer. Afterwards, they received a backpack full of materials and their very own hard-back book, customized with their name. After that, they broke the kids into smaller cohorts and went into reading rooms where they could enjoy hearing their books read for the first time out loud. Their journey ended with a sac-lunch accompanied by their friends and their new stories.
We went to show our support for the program, and were fortunate enough to sit through most of the journey with the kids. The organization and flow of the day was extremely impressive! One of my favorite parts of the experience was the look of anticipation on their faces just moments before they were told they could open their backpacks. The expressions of happiness and shouts of joy that followed the unveiling were priceless.
We couldn’t be more proud to support such a phenomenal program. Thanks to all the volunteers, Team Springfield, and Lane Community College, and of course, Gift of Literacy for making it happen. Here’s a quick video that gives a sneak peak at The Gift of Literacy.