Chino Valley, part of a tri-city area, had the lowest reading scores for many years. The Chino Valley Rotary Club, through the Million Word Reading Challenge, works to raise literacy levels of Chino Valley students. Each year we partner with the Chino Valley Unified School District (CVUSD) and Mingus Springs Charter School (MSCS), we challenge the students to read books. The cornerstone of the project is the software used to test the students' comprehension of each book read, 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. Rotarians attend each school's year-end award ceremony, where Million Word Readers are recognized, and given a certificate, as well as Amazon Gift Cards. Top readers receive Kindles, and for the highest reader, an upgraded Kindle Fire. The children love the quarterly parties and they are interactive with the Rotary members and the teachers which builds a lasting desire to continue to read.
The School District takes pictures of the Million Word readers, they make posters with the pictures on them and then hang them in the school hallways. The poster depicts sayings such as "John likes to play soccer, but he really LOVES to read", these are given to the students when the school year ends.
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) get a Kindle Tablet Reader. The overall top reader from all the schools receives an upgraded Kindle Fire reader.
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 2018-19 school year, over 100 children read over a million words, and the top reader read over 12 million words!
For the 2018-19 school year we also added a "Million Word Reader Recognition Banquet", we invited the Million Word Readers along with their families for dinner. Throughout the evening a big screen showcased the students with their pictures and verbiage that recognizes their love of reading but also their other activities such as band, art, and sports. Door prizes were given away to both students and parents, to keep the evening festive.
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.
2019-20 will be the 11th year this program has been in effect, mainly run by the Rotary Club but with participation by teachers and school librarians. The School District and charter school are thrilled to partner with us, and the Chino Club has made this our signature project and it is very dear to 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 and pins at all the parties and ceremonies.