Reading Role Models

Ainsley Smyth and

West Reads is a new program bridging high school and elementary students. Assistant Principal Kelley Capper and librarian Anne Stowers are its engineers.

 “[Ms Capper’s] idea was to get students from all over the building and all the different activities, reading books and then pushing that out to the elementary schools that will come to West,” Stowers said.

First, student volunteers from different clubs and activities pick a book they want to read. “Then the student will record themselves, introduce themselves, the activity that they’re in [or] the athletics they’re involved in, and then they read the book,” Capper said. “Then we do some video editing, myself and the librarian, Ms. Stowers, and then we send that video on Fridays to all of our elementary feeder [schools].”

One of the goals of West Reads is to get younger students interested in high school activities. 

The program works through clubs and activities, “to give the younger students a connection to West before they even get here and them also show them, these are all the ways you can get involved, so that hopefully they can get excited and feel like they belong to the West community before they even get here,” Stowers said. 

“West Reads, just kind of started with an idea: how could we get more students feeling connected to West before they come to West?” Capper said.

Another purpose is to interest elementary students in reading. 

“I love promoting reading and I expect that the younger kids will look at these high school students reading and maybe it will be cool and I really think it’s going to create more of a community at West,” Stowers said. 

“I hope it opens some eyes. Maybe we have some future teachers in our building and they don’t even know it,” Capper said of the student volunteers.

“I think it just gives you a level of confidence. It feels good to do good things. giving back to your community, in essence, and it’s something as simple as reading a book,” Capper said. 

The first group to participate was football; the first person to read was senior Huston Rotich. 

“It was a fun experience, because I know a lot of little kids over the district because of family, friends and things like that; And I heard that they loved the video, and I thought it was really fun,” Rotich said.

Rotich suggests the program might help encourage reading.

“I know I don’t like reading; so maybe it will kind of show the fun side of reading and encourage them to read more,” he said.

The first video was sent to the elementary schools “I’ve had many people over the school and from other schools tell me I did a great job with it; it feels good,” he said.