Reading @ The Crossroads 2008
In 2004 the Foundation announced their support for a new reading/writing initiative at the junior high level. Members of the Foundation board, District 205 administrators, and teachers and staff from both Lombard and Churchill Junior Highs formed a committee to work towards providing literacy opportunities for middle school students. While this was targeted towards the junior high students and their parents, events for the entire community were held. This project became a reality in 2005 and was funded primarily by an $11,000 grant from the Foundation.
In 2008, the Foundation again helped fund the Reading @ the Crossroads II initiative. Our hard working committee put together a motivating and successful year-long focus on literacy that featured three nationally known authors.
The centerpiece of Reading @ the Crossroads II were three authors Esme' Raji Codell, Sarah Weeks and Marion Blumenthal Lazan. The authors spent a full day at both Lombard and Churchill schools. Middle school teachers began preparing students the very first day of school for the visits by the authors. Each middle school student received an autographed copy of the books - Sahara Special, So Be It and Four Perfect Pebbles.
The Register-Mail and Galesburg Broadcasting added to the excitement with student interviews, student reviews, and great articles outling the events. Students' works were included in the quarterly insert “Pencil Points” entitled “Kids @ the Crossroads”. Opportunities like this bring real-world relevance to student learning demonstrating the importance of their school work.
Our goals for the middle school students were to enhance their motivation and proficiency in reading and writing by:
- Promoting reading and writing across the curriculum and throughout our community
- Making learning relevant to our students and our families while respecting the diversity of our community
- Valuing and inspiring students by showcasing their work in various media formats
- Encouraging community-wide dialogue
Community involvement was an important component to the success of this project. Our children learn from our example. When the community rallied around Reading @ the Crossroads it spoke volumes about the value of literacy. Our students heard that message, and responded with an enthusiasm that was nothing short of electric!
Reading @ the Crossroads is not a “stand-alone” investment of Foundation dollars. It was a yearlong focus on reading and writing. The authors completed their tasks, they have inspired, excited, and taught some important lessons. The community shared it’s stories, and motivated our students to continue to read and write. Then the students got to work and produced written work which was published in a student driven anthology. Galesburg’s native son, Carl Sandburg, would have been proud!
Reading @ the Crossroads was uniquely Galesburg and the Galesburg Public Schools Foundation, was pleased to be such a large part of its success....Believe in it!