The purpose of Reading Across Rhode Island is to bring Rhode Islanders together through reading.
With this first project, we hoped to
• broaden and deepen people’s appreciation of literature and books through reading and discussion
• to send a clear message that literacy is a number one priority for this state
• to demonstrate that reading can be fun
With survey results in from about half of the known participating schools book groups and libraries (as of 6/30/03), we know that:
1. Over 28 Rhode Island communities and more than 2,315 individuals participated in the project by reading the book and participating in a book discussion or planned public events.
Participating Communities: Barrington, Block Island, Bristol, Central Falls, Cranston, Coventry, Cumberland, East Greenwich, East Providence, Exeter/West Greenwich, Foster, Gloucester, Greenville, Jamestown, Johnston, Lincoln, Middletown, Newport, North Kingstown, Pawtucket, Providence, Smithfield, South Kingstown, Warwick, Westerly, West Warwick, West Kingstown, Woonsocket...
Participating Venues: Middle Schools, High Schools, Adult Literacy Classes, Library and Book Store book clubs, Senior Citizen Centers and book groups, Hospitals, Volunteer Organizations...
2. That more than 3,000 copies of Wish You Well were sold over the course of the project.
3. That circulation of Wish You Well throughout the RI Library System was 1,286 during the time frame of the project.
4. That students across the state took part in Students Respond to Wish You Well with over 250 responses received by committee.
700 tickets for PawSox game were sent to participants at Portsmouth High; Martin Middle School in East Providence; Exeter/West Greenwich High; East Greenwich High; Davies Career and Technical High School; St. Matthew School, Cranston; Coventry Middle & High Schools; Tolman & Shea High Schools, Pawtucket.
5. That collaborations were established between branch libraries, within & among teachers and schools, through businesses (Fidelity Investments and United HealthCare donated books to community schools); between Senior Centers and schools; with bookstores and cooperation through islanders sharing ten available copies of the book on Block Island…
6. The website acted as the Communication Center, or virtual center, for the project with a total # of 23,035 Website Page Requests (from 8/8/02 – 6/17/03).
Top Organizations sorted by # of webpage requests: Clan RI Libraries, Cox.net, Aol.com, Fidelity, Lifespan, Verizon.net, Brown .edu, Doa.state.ri.us and a total of 753 other organizations, including some from all over the world.
7. The Press responded well to the press releases and information sent out, with 28 articles or mentions over the duration of the project in both the Providence Journal and local papers such as the Observer, the Warwick Beacon, Pawtucket Times, the Cranston Herald and Foster Home Journal.
• "My students loved the book, and everyone completed one of the projects listed on the website. One memorable one was a video of an Oprah interview with the students playing the characters." Teacher - Smithfield High
• The relay was more meaningful (and more fun!) than anyone had expected. Librarian - East Providence Library
• We held a special event, a Book Discussion of Wish You Well that was separate from our regular monthly book discussion...reaction to the book was mixed--some liked and some did not, but we had a good discussion. Everyone participated and by the end all seemed to understand the book and each other's points of view better." Librarian - Peacedale
• "A number of hesitant readers were motivated to read and connected with the character of Diamond." Teacher - Davisville Middle School
• "This experience made a huge difference in boosting student confidence & promoting family literacy." Literacy Specialist - East Greenwich High
• Community Services Coordinator at Pawtucket Public Library: "I had only been in this position for two weeks when I made the initial call to try and get Mr. Baldacci to speak in Pawtucket, so it was an invaluable learning experience."
Suggestions for improving the project next year:
• Reading Relay: improved collaboration, use videotape next year; don’t do it next year;
• Splashier Kick-off;
• Meet with librarians ahead of time;
• Earlier announcement to schools; have all dates set in advance
• Send evaluation questions out earlier;
• Conference was great