Expansion of REAL Read to Benefit All Elementary Students
Fayette County Public Schools is excited to launch a reimagined, full-year Scholastic REAL Read Program for all preschool and elementary-age students. Our expanded, intentional efforts will support student and family success by embedding a love of reading in our classrooms, our homes, and our communities. Superintendent Demetrus Liggins deemed it a critical initiative that will produce ripple effects through high school and beyond. “It’ll be major in impacting literacy and in impacting lives,” he said at the Aug. 31 kickoff.
At its core, the format is simple: Volunteers visit schools to read in classrooms, and the students receive a copy of the book to take home. The power of the program, however, is complex: Students build relationships with community mentors and engage with culturally diverse literature, volunteers reinforce literacy instruction, and families add to their home libraries. Research shows that having access to books at home:
- Helps children learn the basics such as letter and word identification, and awareness of sounds;
- Encourages youngsters to read more frequently and for greater lengths of time;
- Leads to more positive attitudes toward reading and learning; and
- Improves students’ reading performance and enjoyment.
Our rebooted, robust REAL Read program will run Sept. 11 through April 26, and all our elementary schools and special programs will participate. Every student will get two books this fall and two more in the spring. The selections will be age-appropriate and tied to the curriculum, and activity guides for students and families will enhance literacy and writing skills. For Scholastic’s part, the company is providing a slate of new titles for all ages, improved packaging and delivery of books, and additional digital resources.
A school’s REAL Read coordinator will recruit, train, and schedule guest readers for each classroom. Mentor guides will help the volunteers prepare and suggest discussion starters. In a happy coincidence, FCPS this year is a preferred community partner of the University of Kentucky, which opens a pipeline of student-athletes as guest readers. Local citizens and other FCPS supporters are also welcome to participate; please contact a school coordinator for details.
REAL Read started in FCPS in October 2017; the program has been supplemental and not strategically tied to classroom instruction. Though school participation was optional, we reached over 80,000 students and distributed more than 300,000 books. Beginning in 2023-24, district staff in our Family & Community Engagement (FACE), Early Childhood, Title 1, and Assessment offices are aligning the REAL Read program with a new state law that requires reading improvement plans for grades K-3 (Senate Bill 9, the Read to Succeed Act).
“We’re ahead of the plan because we want to be proactive,” said Director of Assessment Brooke Stinson, noting our program covers PreK-5 students. “We’re proud of the collaboration across departments to promote early literacy,” she added. FACE Director Miranda Scully agreed. “We’re all connected in helping our students succeed,” she said, “and we’re excited to have REAL Read back in full force!”
By the Numbers
39 Elementary Schools & Special Programs
50+ Partnering Business & Organizations
100% Elementary students growing a home library
FCPS contact: Sharon Mofield-Boswell, (859) 381-4103 or 421-7560