MESA, AZ  (September 17, 2011)  Kids Need to Read (KNTR) and Arizona State University (ASU) want to inspire a Reading Revolution!  The project, launching Tuesday, September 20th with a Skype video conference between the middle school students of ASU Preparatory Academy and author/game creator PJ Haarsma, will complement school efforts to increase literacy rates, formulate career ambitions, and reduce dropout rates.  Students will be treated to a visit from “aliens,” while Haarsma introduces students to the topics of quantum physics, space travel, speciation, galactic geography, human relocation, and the characters and storyline of his Softwire series.  He will also give students a primer on playing the Rings of Orbis multimedia game and discuss incentives provided in the game for students who do well on the learning activities for his book, The Softwire: Virus on Orbis 1.

KNTR has partnered with ASU Prep and ASU Tempe’s English Education Program to develop a unique and engaging curriculum for the most disadvantaged middle school children, and to provide the resources necessary to carry out the program.  According to KNTR Executive Director Denise Gary, the program “connects middle school students to life and literacy through innovative approaches.”  The program will impact 140 students at the downtown Phoenix charter school, many of whom arrive at ASU Prep with exceptionally low literacy skills.  Program leaders will introduce the academy’s students to the world of literacy in a way they have previously never experienced, incorporating not only class sets of books but also computers, eBooks, multi-media games, author interactions, and an enriched curriculum that combines English language arts, science, and social studies.  English Education faculty from the ASU Tempe campus have joined forces with the ASU Prep faculty to create engaging and rigorous learning activities for the inaugural unit of study utilizing Haarsma’s Softwire series.  This integrated academic unit will emphasize educational technology to address the National Common Core Curriculum and the International Society for Technology Education National Educational Technology Standards.

“We bring our prior success in book selection and inspiration to this project, as well as the young adult literacy expertise of our nationally respected board members,” says Gary. “Literacy is the most critical tool by which our children will find success in life.  It is of unparalleled importance to the intellectual development of human minds, and directly correlates to success in school and into the future.”  Kids Need to Read is seeking additional funding to produce a full year of similar, innovative programming for the students of ASU Preparatory Academy.  The school will provide ongoing research on affected literacy rates so that Kids Need to Read might offer research proven methods of increasing skills while decreasing dropouts.  Future plans call for the expansion of this pilot program throughout the United States in schools seeking to inspire their students with cutting-edge approaches to literacy improvement and reduced dropout rates.

Reading Revolution Launch Program

Tuesday, September 20th
10:30 am – 11:30 am

ASU Preparatory Academy
735 E. Fillmore St.
Phoenix, AZ 85006

Thank you Arizona State University, ASU Preparatory Academy, and Skype!


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