Early reading proficiency is the single most important factor in the long term success of students, and is the preeminent goal of the Vista Unified School District (VUSD).The project targets are all elementary schools in VUSD (covering both Vista and parts of Oceanside). While average SES levels differ across schools in VUSD, every elementary school has a significant population of students who are English Language Learners and/or come from low SES families. First grade students will be the beneficiaries of this program as ultimate recipients of a book of their own after a classroom reading session conducted by members of the Rotary Club of Vista. This program has been offered for the last several years by the Tri-City Rotary Club (formerly named the Vista Hi Noon Rotary Club), which merged with the Rotary Club of Vista effective July 1, 2020. Thus, the 2020-21 grant will be administered and conducted by the merged Rotary Club of Vista.
Developing interest and competence in reading must start at an early age and VUSD enrolls an unusually high proportion of English as a Second Language students as well as students from families living below the poverty level. This necessitates intensive reading intervention programs at early grade levels. This grant allows our club to support these intervention efforts through classroom reading and individual ownership of books. The grant, taking advantage of discounted availability of books, enables us to serve a minimum of 1,500 first grade students. Our program will involve local Rotarians reading and distributing books to all students in VUSD first grade classrooms. For many of these students, it is either the first book they have owned themselves or one of very few books in their home. Target dates for project reading and distribution of books are September 2020 through December 2020. All schools in VUSD are currently closed due to COVID-19, and reopening plans are still under development. Eventual school opening decisions could affect the timeline for the project and we are prepared to extend program implementation through the entire school year if necessary. Under the most extreme school opening scenario, we could also do our classroom reading sessions in a virtual format.
We have offered this program the past several years and because of the success of our previous efforts, the teachers and administrators of the district are totally committed to supporting us to ensure project success. Both VUSD administrators and the President of the Vista Teachers Association are members of our club and participate in project implementation. Attached are pictures from previous project years. The pictures tell the story better than any written narrative.