Rock For Reading

Letter from Locke School

Dear Rock For Reading:  Recently, I sponsored a family reading night. Students had the opportunity to visit with John from ComEd and work with the power of electricity.  They also had the chance to collect a great number of non-fiction books.  Our district is working with the new Common Core standards and your books were absolutely what fits into Common Core.  The students were excited to have books about caves, rocks, soccer, tundras, etc.   They were so excited to start their own home  libraries!  The picture is one of the stations and the students stopped and wrote thank you notes to Rock For Reading.  Thank you so much for starting their own personal libraries!

Next school year, there is a big push for non-fiction and I am so proud to be doing something proactive! They will have these books over the summer!


One student said as he left with a handful of books: “I am going to go home and start reading!”  That put a big smile on my face.

They have books that belong to them!

Thank you Rock For Reading!

Sabrena Wetzel, MLIS, MAEA     Librarian

Josephine Locke Elementary School

Christacy event

On May 3rd, Chicago artist Christacy debuted his new single at a sold out event at The Board Room. The $10.00 donation at the door was given to Rock For Reading. A  great time was had by all!!

A great event!

This week, I saw an amazing event! I spent a couple of hours at the Swift school on the north side of Chicago. It was Swift family reading night. There are a little over 700 students at Swift, which is a port of entry school, meaning most of their students have recently moved to Chicago from other countries. Their reading scores are through the roof, thanks to Marlene Levin, the CPS reading specialist working at the school. March 23rd was reading day.

All the kids and teachers (and even principal Harlee Till came to school in pajamas, and they sat in classrooms and read all day. Guest readers came in all day to read to the classes.

The evening was Family Reading Night, where the families of the students came in to read with the kids. In the afternoon they told me that they were worried about the attendance, due to bad weather. But.. at 5:30 the auditorium was standing room only. After a short program, people walked from classroom to classroom where teachers were reading books along with the students.

During the evening event, every child in the school was able to pick 2 books to take home with them from the approximately 3000  books that Rock For Reading donated earlier in the day!

Rhymefest comes out for literacy!

Speaking of social conscience, Rhymefest (Che Smith), Grammy award winning co-writer, with Kanye West, of the hit single “Jesus Walks” and a recording star in his own right, is running for Alderman in the 20th Ward in Chicago. He has some great ideas, foremost a commitment to improving literacy rates in his ward. To that end, he held a contest over the Winter break, to challenge all the public schools in his ward to read as many books over the break and write book reports. The winning school, Walter Reed Elementary won a party on the day after Valentine’s Day. Every child got a certificate signed by Rhymefest, all the Eli’s Cheesecake they could eat, and five books donated by Rock For Reading. The books were very warmly received, and we promised the principal that we would keep supplying books to the school.

Thanks to the Audubon school!

A couple of months ago, Julia Snider, a middle school teacher at Audubon Elementary called and asked if her class could do a book drive. Her class, he seventh grade girls advisory, who call themselves, “John’s Hawks” after their principal’s name and their school mascot spent about 2 months collecting books for Rock For Reading. In mid February, we went over to pick up the books. Not knowing what to expect, I drove my car over and was confronted with so many books that it filled my entire car (Front seat, back seat and trunk) TWICE. In total, over 1000 books (still counting). These books are being sorted as we speak, and will soon be distributed to children in need of reading materials!

The girls are: Natalia Estrada, Olivia Carter, Iliana Alvarez, Monica Estrada, Delia Crisantos, Italia Fields, Yasmin Miranda, Ashlee Matias, Katherine Gomez, Ariel Gonzalez and Nicole Hurley. It feels good to see kids with a social conscience working together!

Thanks again to Abdo Publishing!

Abdo has done it again! Last month they donated 78,000 new books to us. These books were shipped to us from St. Paul, Minnesota by our friends at Upstaging. After sorting the books in our warehouse, word went out to all of our teacher partners, and the orders started pouring in. Within a week, most of the books have been delivered to schools all over Chicagoland.

Last week, the Morton School of Excellence held a literacy night, where students and parents participated in some reading classes, learned salsa dancing, ate some great food and, at the end of the night, each student took home a bundle of six books to read and to start their home libraries with. Thanks to Kristine Utley, Reading specialist extraordinaire.

From Jason Thomas at WXRT

Chicago Marathon/Rock For Reading
Jason Thomas

Whoa!  We’re now just a week and a half away from the Chicago Marathon.  This will be marathon #1 for me, and I’d like to take a second to thank Rachael Minucciani for putting me up to this.  Rachael works with Rock For Reading, and several months ago she asked if I’d like to run the marathon with the R4R Marathon Team.  Fast forward a few months and I’m as ready to go as one can be, and I know this may sound weird, but I’m gonna miss the training a little bit.

I’ve followed Mr. Higdon’s Intermediate Program mile for mile.  One thing that’s pretty awesome about working up to marathon #1 is that at the end of every week, when you do the longer run, you’re running farther than you ever have before.  12 mile run?  Check.  13?  Done.  17?  Got it.  20?  Yup.  For someone that hates getting up early in the morning, some of the afternoon runs in the summertime 90s with nasty humidity got old after a while, but as they say, “that which does not kill us…”  So, I’m ready to roll on October 10.  And if you’d like to kick down a couple bucks to the Rock For Reading cause, we’d very much appreciate it.  See ya.

St. Laurence High School Rock&Roll Club

The St. Laurence Rock and Roll club Rocks!! They meet after school and jam out in a number of classrooms, making more cool noise than anyone has ever heard in the school!

This year they did a book drive for Rock For Reading. A book got you one dollar off admission to their concert. A rocking good time was had by all in the gymnasium. With equipment supplied by guitar center, 6 bands each played a 3 or 4 song set to a packed house. 2105 books were donated and are being sent to schools as I am writing this!

Thanks guys!!!

Adventure Stage Chicago helps us!!

ASC is hosting a book drive for us! Bring a new or gently used children’s book to The Ghosts of Treasure Island and receive $1.00 off your ticket. (One discount valid for each ticket. Does not apply to tickets for the Spring Fling.)

The Ghosts of Treasure Island
Script by Eric Schmiedl
Music and Lyrics by Captain Bogg and Salty
Adapted from the novel Treasure Island by Robert Louis Stevenson
Directed by Amanda Delheimer

April 10th – May 20th, 2010
At the Vittum Theater
1012 North Noble, Chicago, IL

This rollicking new musical follows young cabin boy Jim Hawkins as he fights to survive on a mysterious island. Accompanied by the singing shenanigans of a raucous band of pirate ghosts, Jim races to find notorious Captain Flint’s fabled treasure before his mutinous shipmates steal the fortune for themselves. Faced with danger at every turn, Jim persists on his quest armed with nothing but an old treasure map and an endless supply of courage.

Come sail the high seas with the crew of The Hispaniola in this rowdy adventure!

Recommended for ages 9 and up.

Family Matinees
Saturdays 2:00 p.m.
April 10
April 17 (Raffle Day – Every audience member is entered in a raffle)
April 24 (Performance is part of ASC’s Spring Fling: A Pirate Party
May 1 (Behind the Scenes Day – Get a VIP tour after the show)
Special Evening Performance: Friday May 7th at 7:00 p.m.
May 8 (Picture with a Pirate Day – Take photos with the cast)
May 15

Ticket Prices
Regular $17.00
Child (14 and under) $12.00
Previews (all ages) $10.00
Group (10 and more) $11.00

Call 773.342.4141 for tickets today, or visit our website

Photos from a book donation

Kari Jo Bank Wagner from North River Elementary School sent us some recent photos:

To read some letters we have received from students and teachers, please go to our two new pages:

Letters from Teachers

Letters from Students

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Rock For Reading