Rock Hill fights brain drain with reading initiative

rsouthmayd@heraldonline.comJune 24, 2013 

  • Community involvement

    • The city of Rock Hill included “Top Three Ways You Can Encourage Reading This Summer” and “Why Can’t I Skip my Twenty Minutes of Reading Tonight?” in the employee newsletter and the newsletter included in July’s utility bill.

    • At the Worthy Boys & Girls Camp, children are assigned a book and required to read 30 minutes daily. They are allowed to take the books home at the end of the week as a gift. The books were provided by Rawlinson Road Middle School and Rock Hill chiropractor Winslow Schock.

    • The city’s Housing & Neighborhood Services will distribute books to children during National Night Out on Aug. 6. Approximately 300 books were donated by Cheer for Children.

    • The Youth Service League is assisting with the Summer Safari Reading Program at Boyd Hill Baptist Church and at Oakdale Elementary School’s Summer Reading Program. Boyd Hill Center children will participate in the Summer Safari Reading Program at Boyd Hill Baptist.

    • Commission for Children and Youth members are buying books to donate to various sites. The commission will be assisting with the Count Down to Kindergarten event.

    • The city helped to promote the York County Library summer reading program using city social media sites.

The city of Rock Hill, Rock Hill schools, York County Library and community organizations are teaming up to fight brain drain this summer through cooperative reading programs, under the new title, “Rock Hill Reads.”

At a news conference announcing the new initiative Monday, Rock Hill schools Superintendent Lynn Moody said that students who don’t read over the summer can lose as much as half a year of educational progress. She also said that students who can’t read on grade level by the third grade are twice as likely to be incarcerated at some point in their lives.

Mayor Doug Echols said this initiative stemmed from a shared interest in improving the community of Rock Hill.

“I think this demonstrates a wonderful partnership,” Echols said. “We can all be a part of this effort.”

The city of Rock Hill will support the summer reading initiative by including reading tips in the information it sends to approximately 750 city employees and in the city newsletter, which Echols said is sent to 39,000 homes. City employees will participate in a book drive, and the city’s Housing and Neighborhood Services will donate books to children at the annual National Night Out event Aug. 6.

In the school district, for the first time, all 17 elementary schools have individual summer reading programs. Moody said each school designed their own program.

Other community organizations, such as Cheer for Children, the United Way and the Early Learning Partnership, are also collaborators on “Rock Hill Reads.”

Moody said the goal for the city is to get every citizen to read for at least 20 minutes every day.

Colleen Kaphengst, executive director of the York County Library, said what people read doesn’t matter, as long as they are reading and their children can see them reading.

“We want to encourage reading to be a family activity,” Kaphengst said.

Rock Hill chiropractor Winslow Shock, founder of Cheer for Children, was involved in creating this collaboration and said he was “stoked” about the new initiative.

“Simply stated, Rock Hill reads, and after you read, reading rocks,” he said.

After Monday’s news conference, Moody, Echols and children’s librarian Diane Williams read books to children from the Freedom Montessori School.

VIDEO: Moody reads to children

Rachel Southmayd •  803-329-4072

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