Sparking a Love of Reading at Greenwood Elementary School in Lee County

Posted on June 05, 2020

Lunch tables set with book titles

Student: Wendy Bryant Motley

Test scores revealed the need to strengthen English Language Arts (ELA) proficiency among the school’s African-American students.

What is the project’s goal?

A Book Club was launched with two goals in mind: (1) increase students’ test scores and, (2) on a deeper level, spark a love of reading in all students.

What is the innovation?

The Book Club, collaboratively created with the 4th grade teachers, focuses on books by African-American authors with African-American characters. This is in sharp contrast to the “White-centric” literature often taught in schools, Ms. Motley notes. All 4th grade students are included in the Book Club, which is broken down into 17 sub-groups by reading level.  African-American students in particular love reading about characters with whom they can identify. The Book Club is student-led, with students rotating through responsibilities such as making sure that the group stays on task and that everyone has a chance to speak.

What has been the impact?

In contrast to pre-book club implementation data, in which most of the African-American students reported that they did not like to read at all, those students are reporting in post-implementation data that they like to read “sometimes” or “all the time.” Post-intervention ELA scores are still to come, but the enthusiasm of participating students shows that the Book Club has made a difference.