Reading was one of Paul Harris’, the Founder of Rotary, core pleasures. Evenings at Comely Bank, his home on Chicago’s South Side, he would read aloud from the novels of Charles Dickens, and his speeches and writings are peppered with quotations from poets Robert Burns, John Greenleaf Whittier, and James Russell Lowell, as well as allusions to New England transcendentalists Ralph Waldo Emerson and Henry David Thoreau — fitting for a man who grew up in Vermont and loved the outdoors.
Today, in the spirit of its founder, Rotary fosters literacy, paired with education, as one of its six areas of focus. With an estimated 14 percent of the world’s adult population functionally illiterate, Rotarians work to open schools, promote proven teaching methods, and establish mentoring programs to help people improve their reading skills.
We are taking on a new project in the Greater Kansas City area with Rotary clubs on both the Kansas and Missouri sides of the state line to read to children and promote literacy. The book we’ve chosen, “Andy and Elmer’s Apple Dumpling Adventure,” was written with the Rotary 4-Way Test in mind. That Test guides the work of Rotarians by promoting truth, fairness, benefitting all, and building positive relationships. My request of you is that you approve Rotary members to contact elementary school principals and make arrangements to read this book to a second, third, or fourth grade class. The book will be left with the teacher to be shared in any way he or she sees fit. Our target time for reading is late September. Thank you for your consideration.