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    Posted May 11, 2012 by
    racine, Wisconsin
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    The Community that Reads Together Stays Together: Local Community Promotes Literacy with One Million Book Challenge

    A recent study reported that the average elementary school student read 40 books1 each school year, yet only 34 percent of students are deemed “proficient” in their reading level2. Local communities across the country are coming together to improve these statistics, and the city of Racine, Wis. led the charge by challenging its 10,000 local elementary school students to read one million books during the school year – an average of 100 books per child. Students rose to the challenge, by more than quadrupling the national average, by reading 180 books per student and 1.8 million books in total.

    At a special community event, Racine Mayor John Dickert, Fisk Johnson, Chairman and CEO of SC Johnson, who sponsored the program, and teen pop-star Jasmine Villegas, who most recently opened for Justin Bieber, celebrated the students’ accomplishments. They, along with Racine County Executive Jim Ladwig and the Racine Reads partners, were on hand to award the $100,000 grand prize library makeover to Wadewitz Elementary School and also officially declare it “Racine Reads: Dream Big! Day.”

    To further reward students for their participation and engagement, Racine Reads: Dream Big! announced two additional prizes to the runners-up. Trinity Lutheran and Mount Pleasant Renaissance were surprised when they each received $25,000, sponsored by SC Johnson, to update their school libraries. Individual classroom prizes were also given to Roosevelt, John Paul II Academy, and Jerstad-Agerholm Elementary, who received iPads, Kindles and gift cards, respectively.

    Response to Racine Reads: Dream Big! has been overwhelming; highlights include:
    • Number of classrooms that participated: 461
    • Number of students that participated: 10,008
    • More than 85% of classrooms in Racine participated in the program
    • All 36 Racine private, parochial and public schools participated in the program
    • Average books read per student: 180
    • More than 8,900 books read per day during the program
    • Racine Reads: Dream Big! donated more than 10,000 books to elementary students and school libraries throughout the program
    • More than 125 million pages read3
    • More than 10,000 books collected and donated to Racine Cops ‘N Kids Reading Center
    • Circulation numbers for children’s material at the Racine Public Library went up by nearly 25 percent in the first quarter of 2012
    • 2,000 pizzas given out at pizza parties to celebrate milestones (that’s 16,000 slices!)
    • More than 650 stops by the city’s bookmobile that was wrapped with a special Racine Reads message including the official “book-o-meter” that tracked the community’s overall progress
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