Statistically, many underprivileged children in the U.S. grow up without an emphasis on the importance of reading or with any books of their own. As a consequence, children brought up in lower income families are often at a disadvantage later in life when it comes to literacy. Seniors Danielle Ames, Haleigh Shaw, Erin Staley and Rachel Stayer are using their Senior Capstone project to contribute a creative solution to this nation-wide problem.
In an effort to help convey the importance of reading to local elementary school children, the seniors focused their Capstone project on literacy. The young women put together a presentation coupled with a book drive designed to encourage students to be more excited about reading and to give them the materials to do so.
While presenting to fourth grade students at Our Lady of the Rosary Elementary School, the CJ seniors asked the children about their favorite books and encouraged them to answer questions about the importance of reading. The elementary school students responded enthusiastically to the seniors' presentation.
“They seemed to really enjoy it,” said Danielle Ames. “I think a lot of kids lose interest in reading now because of all the technology that they have access to. I was really happy to see how enthusiastic these students were about the books they were reading.”
“They were really engaged,” added Rachel Stayer. “I think our presentation encouraged them, especially because they kept saying that they were inspired.”
The seniors chose this particular elementary school because they wanted to target a population of students who may not have been afforded many privileges. “For many of these students, the book they took home from our book drive is the first book they have ever owned,” said Stayer.
“Our project was based on going out and talking about the importance of literacy,” said Haleigh Shaw. “I think it’s most important to be able to talk to these children now so they can get started reading more early on.”
“It’s definitely important to catch them early on,” agreed Ames. “I think it’s really good for them to see us older kids reading, we can be role models for them.”