Students launch reading/career education project with community members

Cliff Williams' first and second grade students from Crooked River Elementary have hooked up with `Pooh Bear' in an innovative project aimed at getting kids excited about reading.
   Made possible by a grant from Fred Meyer's SHOPA Foundation, students will be working with a handful of members from the community to discover the necessity of reading skills in real life. Last Friday in two separate sessions, students introduced community members including Chief of Police Jim Soules and Central Oregonian's sports editor Dave Richards to the unique program.
   "Our principal helped us to get a grant from Fred Meyer for this program," Williams explained. "The grant allowed us to buy everything we needed to launch the program, and we still have some money left on the side to purchase books and reading materials for the classroom." Students will also receive information from a local plumber, a nurse and librarian.
   In a well orchestrated presentation, students aided by Williams gave an overview of how the bear will travel throughout the community over the next few weeks, collecting information on reading.
   The thrust of the program is that each person will take the yellow bear, complete with backpack loaded with tape recorder, post cards and camera for a couple of days and follow through with attached instructions.
   "The person with the bear will write on student-made postcards what his or her job is, what their reading interests are and why reading is important to them," Williams explained.
   Each person will also make a recording of the day-to-day activities at their workplace and take a picture of themselves with the yellow bear. "This information will come back to us and we will plot on a map where Pooh Bear has traveled. In addition, when we find out what kind of reading that person likes, we will purchase books and periodicals that match their interest for the classroom."
   "The whole project is based around career education with a focus on learning to read, both for our classwork and enjoyment," explained principal Stan Johns. "We are extending what we do here in the classroom out into the community. Also, it's good for youngsters of this age to see adults who depend upon the skill of reading in order to be successful in their job and their life."