Early reading proficiency is the single most important factor in the long-term success of students and is the preeminent goal of the Vista Unified School District (VUSD). The project targets are all elementary schools in VUSD (covering both Vista and parts of Oceanside). While average SES levels differ across schools in VUSD, every elementary school has a significant population of students who are English Language Learners and/or come from low SES families. First grade students will be the beneficiaries of this program as ultimate recipients of a book of their own after a classroom reading session conducted by members of the Rotary Club of Vista. This program was offered for many years by the Tri-City Rotary Club (formerly named the Vista Hi-Noon Rotary Club), which merged with the Rotary Club of Vista effective July 1, 2020. The program has been conducted by the merged club since 2021 and will be done by the merged club in the future.
Developing interest and competence in reading must start at an early age and VUSD enrolls an unusually high proportion of English as a Second Language students as well as students from families living below the poverty level. This necessitates intensive reading intervention programs at early grade levels. This grant allows our club to support these intervention efforts through classroom reading and individual student ownership of books. The grant, taking advantage of discounted availability of books, enables us to serve approximately 1,400 first grade students. Our program involves local Rotarians reading and distributing books to all students in VUSD first grade classrooms. For many of these students, it is either the first book they have owned themselves or one of the few books in their home. Target dates for reading and distribution of books are September 2023 through December 2023.
We have offered this program for the past several years and because of the success of our previous efforts, the teachers and administrators in VUSD are totally committed to supporting us to ensure project success. VUSD administrators and the President and Secretary of the Vista Teachers' Association are members of our club and take leadership in project implementation. Attached are pictures of classroom reading sessions from the 2022-23 project.