Literacy is one of Rotary’s Six major areas of Focus.  I am sure that it is no secret to anyone here today that the ability to read has a profound effect on a person’s success throughout their lifetime.  

A quick internet search for facts about literacy brings up these chilling statistics:
 
 
Literacy statistics and juvenile court
•    85 percent of all juveniles who interface with the juvenile court system are functionally illiterate.
•    Illiteracy and crime are closely related. The Department of Justice states, "The link between academic failure and delinquency, violence, and crime is welded to reading failure." Over 70% of inmates in America's prisons cannot read above a fourth grade level.
 
According to the National Education Association, children who read frequently develop stronger reading skills.  
 
The U. S. Department of Education found that, generally, the more students read for fun, the higher their reading scores.  
 
**THE GOAL OF OUR LITERACY PROJECT is to help our children develop a LOVE OF READING, both for their own personal development, and for the good of our community as a whole.
 
Short History – The Fremont Rotary Literacy Project started in the fall of 2013 and was made possible by a grant from Gannett/New Messenger.  The first year we read at one school, Atkinson.  The second year, we added two additional schools, Stamm and Washington, so now we are reading in the schools about 150 times each school year, and donating a total of about 150 books to those classrooms.
 
The book that we start with each year is titled, Andy & Elmer’s Apple Dumpling Adventure.  It is the story of a young entrepreneur who starts an apple dumpling business. With the guidance of a mysterious voice conveying the Four-Way Test, he turns his venture into a wonderful success and makes friends along the way.  With this book, we are introducing the children of Fremont not only to the joy of reading, but also to Rotary’s ideals and values.
 
We have some guests with us today from the Fremont City Schools who will tell us more about the literacy program and its impact.
Denice Hirt, Director of Curriculum,
Christine Oravets, Principal Washington and former Principal of Stamm,
and student Jaila Frymire.

 
Angie Morelock was our Literacy program Chair during the 2015-2016 school year. 
 
And finally, our new Literacy Program chair, Patti Powers.