Annual Read 2 Learn RallyThe Annual Read 2 Learn Rally is held the last Friday in January each year, and is an event that allows the district to encourage, motivate, and congratulate the students on their reading success thus far.January 27, 2017 - 4th Annual Read 2 Learn RallyAll the second-graders in the Wichita Falls ISD’s Read 2 Learn program assembled Friday, January 27, at the Stone Palace in downtown Wichita Falls for one reason: to cheer for reading. The 1200 students from 15 campuses all wore special Read 2 Learn T-shirts, made especially for the occasion with a Peter Pan design. They also came prepared to give a specially made cheer about the benefits of reading.One by one, groups from each participating school stood and recited, shouted, or sang one cleverly written chant. Some presentations came with a music soundtrack. Others were accented with stomping, shouting or arm-waving.“Wow, look at those shirts,” said Grady Schenk, president of the Wichita Falls Kiwanis Club as he scanned the sea of children dressed in their dark gray T-shirts and seated cross-legged on the Stone Palace floor. “Wear them with pride.”
Sponsors tossed more free T-shirts into the crowd and awarded free subscriptions to Highlights magazine and tickets to Castaway Cove waterpark. The second-graders pounced on the shirts as they soared through the air and into their laps. They scrambled quickly to the front of the auditorium to claim their freebies.
“You’re all winners for doing what you’re doing,” said Mr. Schenk.
WFISD Associate Superintendent Peter Griffiths told children that reading was like traveling. By opening a book, they could delve into a story that took place anywhere in the world and at any time in history.
“How many of you have heard of the movie, ‘The Martian’?” he said. Hands waved throughout the audience. “That was once a book. You could have opened that book….and gone to Mars!”
Read 2 Learn is in its third year as an incentive reading program. Hundreds of community volunteers breathe life into the program by volunteering to meet weekly with a second-grader and follow a simple, prescribed program to help them practice reading.
The objective of the homegrown Read 2 Learn program is to help every second-grader read on grade level by third grade – a vital milestone for further academic success, according to reading experts.
The rally – now in its fourth year -- builds new enthusiasm for reading, said Partners in Education Director January Jones, who oversees the program.
“The rally is a way for all the second grade students to come together and celebrate their success and achievements and encourage them to keep working hard,” said Ms. Jones. “I believe the rally helps build some new enthusiasm and excitement, especially when you are at the start of the second semester and need that little extra push.”
Eleven campuses participated this year compared to eight last year. “Seeing those students walk in with their T-shirts and smiles on their faces brings tears to my eyes every year,” said Ms. Jones.
The 11 participating elementary campuses are Burgess, Cunningham, Fain, Fowler, Haynes, Jefferson, Milam, Scotland Park, Southern Hills, Washington/Jackson and Zundy.Sponsors for the rally are Stone Palace, Wichita Falls Kiwanis, Perdue Brandon Fielder Collins & Mott, Coca-Cola Bottling Co., Tealwood Place Apartments, Law Office of Dustin E. Nimz, 92.9 NIN, Raising Canes, and Castaway Cove.