Literacy initiative supports OKC educators by distributing books

library books

Last week marked a milestone for ReadOKC, the OKCPS Compact’s reading and literacy initiative led by the Oklahoma City Public Schools Foundation. The ReadOKC On the Go Mobile Book Bus has officially donated more than 10,000 books to Oklahoma City public school students.

ReadOKC was the compact’s first initiative, launched in 2017 with a mission to instill a love of reading in our students and community. This mission is guided by three strategic objectives: Organize reading challenges during school holidays and give students the goal of reading at least 20 minutes a day; connect caring adults with students as reading companions to read with and mentor them; providing access to reading material through small libraries and the ReadOKC On the Go Mobile Book Bus.

Each of the three goals has experienced phenomenal growth over the past five years. There were over 24 million minutes of reading in reading challenges and over 37,000 students reached the goal of reading 20 minutes a day.

Over 500 reading buddies were actively visiting schools before COVID. The numbers have dropped as volunteers have gone virtual, but the reading/mentoring continues.

There is a small library in every school in the district, from kindergarten through high school, and each is run and stocked with books by community volunteers.

Marie Melon-Tully

And, the ReadOKC On the Go Mobile Book Bus made 41 tours and participated in two parades, giving 10,000 students the chance to board the bus, select the book of their choice, and take it home to keep. .

We all know that learning to read is a fundamental skill that is the basis of academic success. There is plenty of data on the science of reading and the best ways for our educators to teach these valuable skills. In addition to these skills, the involvement of family members and community support are also essential.

Reading develops language skills, social skills and improves hand-eye coordination. Reading also opens up new worlds and expands the imagination, allowing the reader to lose themselves in any genre of the book, whether it’s historical fiction, fantasy or the biography of a famous sports personality. or a science, math, or coding book. This ties directly to ReadOKC’s mission to instill a love of reading and the role our community plays in nurturing that love.

We rely on our educators to teach phonics and practical reading skills. ReadOKC can help support their work by understanding what helps children love reading:

They read when they are recognized.

They read when encouraged.

They read when they are allowed to choose what interests them.

Learn more at

Mary Mélon-Tully is president and CEO of the Oklahoma City Public Schools Foundation.

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