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45-year-old literacy program is being resurrected to encourage youth to unplug and read
Submitted on behalf of Saints Peter & Paul School
Learning to read is the single most important activity in a child’s education. Studies show that children who read at home are better prepared to succeed in formal education, yet, due to the coronavirus pandemic, literacy among grades kindergarten through second have been negatively impacted the most.
PARP (Pick A Reading Partner) is a statewide literacy incentive program that asks a partner (parent, grandparent, babysitter, older sibling, cousin, friend, etc.) to read with a child for 15 minutes a day. PARP, developed in 1978 by New York State Sen. James Donovan, encourages a love of reading in children, and cements the necessary bond between the home and school. The program was originally named Parents As Reading Partners, but was changed in 2015 to support more inclusive language.
Saints Peter & Paul School in Williamsville is introducing the program to encourage a lifelong love of reading in its students. The year’s theme is “Readers are Leaders” and will run the month of March. A pep rally will kick off a calendar of activities, including “Wireless Wednesdays,” school-wide DEAR (drop everything and read) time, weekly reading incentives, and conclude with a book signing by a local author.
Assembly member Karen McMahon and Erie County Executive Mark Poloncarz will issue proclamations recognizing March as PARP month at SSPP Williamsville, and Williamsville Mayor Deb Rogers will read to students at the pep rally.
Each class in grades pre-K three through eighth grade will pick a leader to have printed in the hallway, and students will be able to add a footstep each week as an at-home reading is completed. Incentives will include a night at the local library, tickets to Flix movies, a McDonald’s gift card, a ticket aboard the Maid of the Mist boat tour in Niagara Falls, and a discount night at Barnes & Noble. The individual class with the most participation will win an ice cream party.
“The purpose of PARP is to motivate a love of reading and strengthen communication skills between school, community and home,” said Melissa Lindner, principal, SSPP School Williamsville. “Saints Peter and Paul is participating this year because of our mission to build childhood literacy and foster a lifelong passion for reading.”
Saints Peter & Paul School is a Catholic Elementary School in Williamsville, which is conducted by the parish to provide a thoroughly Catholic education which is centered in the person and gospel of Jesus Christ.