Lake Forest, IL……. On October 11, almost five hundred third, fourth, and fifth graders from five neighboring communities discovered that “everybody cooks rice”!
Lake County Cares is pleased to announce that its Third Annual Reading Buddy program, “Sarah’s Dream: Read With Me!” kicked off on Thursday, October 11, and has expanded to include 47 third graders from North Chicago’s Forrestal Elementary School. They joined the original four participating schools: 116 third graders from Clearview Elementary in Waukegan and the 82 from Oak Terrace Elementary in Highwood traveled by bus to their awaiting “Buddies”. Highwood and Waukegan students are partnered with fourth and fifth grade students from Lake Bluff Elementary School, and Forrestal students are partnered with the fourth graders at Lake Forest Country Day School.
In all, nearly 500 students and their teachers are involved in Lake County Cares’ program, designed to improve literacy in Lake County as well as creating a culture of compassion and cooperation among children from different schools in neighboring communities. Read With Me involves mentorship, friendship, and fun, for students and teachers alike.
The children had been matched according to similar interests revealed through “All About Me” postcards, which each child filled out prior to the first meeting. After getting to know one another over a snack (some experienced rice cakes for the first time!), the children read the book Everybody Eats Rice by Norah Dooley, and did an activity designed to prompt discussion of characters, plot, and setting. At Lake Forest Country Day School the students have been studying immigration, so they added map work to the lesson, locating where the rice recipes came from. At the end of the hour-long program, the third graders from Oak Terrace, Clearview, and now Forrestal had a new book to take home!
The students will meet three times in all: again in December, and then in April. Each time there will be a new book for the third graders to call their own. For the third meeting, locations will be swapped and the Lake Forest/Lake Bluff students will have the opportunity to visit their buddies’ school and see their classrooms.
Who is Sarah? What is her Dream?
Sarah Mynhier is an alumnus of Lake Forest High School who has a passion for literacy.
For two years at LFHS she led a program to collect and distribute books for children in neighboring communities – distributing more than 4,000 books Oak Terrace School in Highwood, North School in North Chicago, Women’s Residential Services, A Safe Place, and the Big Brothers, Big Sisters organization. When she graduated from LFHS, the Volunteer Center (now Lake County Cares) honored Sarah for her service and agreed to administer the book drive as her legacy. As a result of her efforts, over 11,000 thousand books have been distributed at ten schools in North Chicago, Waukegan, and Highwood.
Sarah’s Dream is taking the book drive one step further: when asked what her long-term wish for the program would be, she said “in addition to delivering the books, we need to read these books with the children!”
What makes Read With Me! possible?
This program has been made possible over the years through generous grants from the Buchanan Family Foundation, the Union Church of Lake Bluff, Forest Pediatric Dentistry and Orthodontics, and Lake Bluff’s Alliance for Excellence, along with contributions from the Lake Bluff PTO, Lake Forest Country Day School, and Dominick’s.
To quote students from Oak Terrace and Lake Bluff:
•This wonderful experience has opened my view on the world. Now I know how it feels to help.
•I loved reading with all of you. You were so nice when I needed help. I was (sad) when my buddy left so I want to see them more often.
Connecting good people with great causes.