It may not seem possible that it’s now been 11 years since an enterprising Patricia Earle, recognizing the potential harm that deep cuts to city elementary schools’ library programs could bring, decided to launch a program that would send local adults into the schools to read to young schoolchildren.
Yet that is how and when the First R Foundation was born. And today, it not only stands as one of the most successful and significant outside programs run through area schools, but as a classic example of the kind of difference one person, a dedicated band of volunteers and true grass-roots program can make.
As noted in Thursday’s Page 1 story by Gail McCarthy — who served as our own Gloucester Times First R reader this month in visiting the kindergarten classes at West Parish School — First R is not merely about storytelling and entertaining Gloucester’s and Rockport’s kindergarteners once a month.
It’s about showing and conveying to children the joys and benefits of reading – especially in today’s social media climate built on quick-hot online stories, text messaging and so much more. And in that sense, it not only provides a lively and positive learning experience for the kids, but for the community leaders who participate as volunteers, too.
We congratulate and thank Earle for this important community program, as it continues to draw monetary and volunteers support. It’s very much deserved.