First grade students at Heritage Rose Elementary School will have plenty to read this summer thanks to a donation made by Sienna Plantation to the ACHIEVE Summer Reading Program.
The community donated $1,400 to the program whose goal is to support young students attain grade level reading skills. First implemented in 2016, the ACHIEVE program gives first graders who are the lowest performing readers in their class 10 books of their own to take home and read over the summer. Books are matched to the children’s reading and interest levels.
“Children who are not reading well by third grade are four times more likely to eventually drop out of school — poverty compounds this problem.” said James Patterson, Precinct 4 Fort Bend County Commissioner and ACHIEVE Fort Bend Board president. “Aware of this and similar research studies, ACHIEVE members sought out a way to help support young students. The goal in doing this was to support schools through an early-intervention, dropout-prevention program.”
A packet of 10 books costs $50. The Sienna Plantation donation will provide 28 students at Heritage Rose with books.
“Sienna Plantation is very involved with local schools,” said Alvin San Miguel, general manager of master-planned community. “Anytime we have an opportunity to make a difference we are happy to help.”
Students are excited to receive the books, said Patricia Garner, ACHIEVE Fort Bend Board secretary.
“Some of our participating schools organize small/casual assemblies to give the children the impression that they are being ‘awarded’ the books,” she said.
Garner and Fort Bend County constables will deliver books to the students at Heritage Rose. Each child’s name will be written in his or her books to show that the books are theirs to keep or share.
Last year, the program helped 80 percent of participating first graders to maintain or increase their reading levels over the summer. Fundraising efforts in 2017 garnered more than $18,000. A matching grant from the George Foundation meant that approximately $36,000 was spent to provide more than 750 students with books. This year, organizers hope to put books in the hands of 900 first graders.