The Chino Valley area, part of a tri-city area, had the lowest reading scores in the area for many years. The Chino Valley Rotary Club, through the Million Word Reading Challenge, in partnership with the Chino Valley Unified School District (CVUSD) and Mingus Springs Charter School (MSCS) is raising the literacy levels of Chino Valley students. Each year we partner with the 4 schools and challenge students to read books. Tests are conducted at the conclusion of the book, via an electronic program, to test the student's comprehension, and record the number of words in the book. Rotary Club members visit each school quarterly and have a party with the highest reading class in each grade - root beer floats or pizza parties. At the end of the school year Rotarians attend each school's award ceremony, where every child who has read over a million words receives recognition and some type of award - the prizes run from Amazon Gift Cards to Kindles, and for the highest reader, a Kindle Fire.
The Chino Valley School District has over 2,000 students who are eligible to participate, and Mingus Springs Charter School has over 200 students. In total, the children read over 400 million words this year! In the 2017-2018 school year, over 100 children read over a million words, and the top reader read over 16 million words alone.
The School District takes pictures of the high-reading students and make posters with their pictures on them and hang them in the school hallways. The poster depicts sayings such as "John likes to play soccer, but he really LOVES to read." At the end of the year each child gets his/her poster with their picture on it at the awards ceremony. The children love the quarterly parties and they are interactive with the Rotary members and the teachers.
At the end of the year, much ado is made of the over-million readers. We provide Amazon gift cards, of $20.00 each for those who read over a million words, and the top 2 readers in each school (4 schools) we give them a Kindle Reader. The overall top reader from all the schools receives a Kindle Fire reader.
The Superintendent, who is also a Rotarian, is a huge fan of the program and the success it has brought to the children in the district. The Assistant Superintendent says, "The children love the program and the competitiveness that comes with it. They enjoy the parties and prizes that occur all year long." It is estimated that scores have risen on the standardized AIMS reading test by 7% since the inception of the program.
2018-19 will be the 10th year this program has been in effect, mainly run by the Rotary Club. The School District and charter school are thrilled to partner with us, and our Club has made a commitment to continue the program through our members. The local newspaper will often cover the quarterly parties as well as the awards programs. The Rotarians are also visible with their Rotary shirts at all the parties and ceremonies.