‘Contagious’ reading at Inman Elem.

Fourth grader Kahlah Andrews, 10th grade mentor Ivori Douglas from Our Lady of Mercy High School and fourth grader Eden Negusse

Something contagious is going around at Inman Elementary, the love of reading.

Funded by a grant from Target and the Coweta-Fayette Bright Ideas Program, 20 teen mentors, who also happen to be chronic readers, from Whitewater and Our Lady of Mercy high schools are sharing their passion with Inman’s After School Program students through a new initiative called “Reading is Contagious.”

Students participating in the program do so at the request of their parents. Parents must agree to match the one-hour per week reading commitment with their child that mentors make. A journal recording time spent, child-created assessments of comprehension, word games, and drawings are exchanged between mentors and parents throughout the year. The journals mark milestones that are awarded, culminating with an end-of-the-year celebration.

“If we can get children excited about reading, we will have done our job; and if their reading scores improve, we won’t be surprised,” says Kahlilah Pagan, site coordinator for Inman’s After School Program.

The school recently held a “Reading is Contagious” kickoff celebration to inform parents and get students excited about the program. Louis Robinson, the school’s principal, calls the program a total team effort.

“The students will be inspired by the attention given to them, the mentors and parents will be proud of their accomplishments, and together we will be reaching out to children with compassion through reading,” he says.

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