Pecan Grove principal praises Rotary Club of Gonzales literacy program

Aanifa LeBlanc
Paraprofessional Michele Savoy, left, and Pecan Grove Primary School Principal Margie Meyers were greeted by Rotary Club of Gonzales President Mark Lacour during the club meeting Aug. 5. Meyers and Savoy discussed ways the club can contribute to vocabulary development and reading improvement of area school children through its Literacy Program.

Pecan Grove Elementary School Principal Margie Meyers stressed the importance of the Rotary Club of Gonzales literacy program and gave members pointers on how to make their efforts more effective at the club meeting Aug. 5. 

Today’s job applicants must be problem solvers and versed in technology, and to do that they must be able to read, Meyers said.

Louisiana ranks 49th in the nation in literacy; only 61.4 percent of state citizens have high school diplomas.

Club President Mark Lacour said members of the Rotary Club of Gonzales will be reading from books to first-graders and talking with fourth-grade students to help expand their vocabularies. Last year the club read books and presented dictionaries to school children.

“Your bringing the dictionaries meant so much to us last year,” Meyers said. “It was a great start.”

This year Myers said the club will take its program a little father by coming in and talking about what members do in their chosen professions, and introducing 20 new words to students during those talks.

Many younger Louisiana children growing up in poverty typically want to grow up and become a basketball or football player, or to work with their parents, Myers said. Rotarians speaking to students about their own professions will hopefully make the children more aware of other job opportunities.

Rotarians who chose to read to students should read and be familiar with their books before reading in front of an audience of first-graders, Meyers said.

During the Tuesday meeting paraprofessional Michele Savoy read a child’s book to club members, moderating her voice, dropping familiar names and keeping eye contact with her audience.

She stressed that Rotarians should plan to read no longer than about 10 or 15 minutes, due to the short attention spans of young children.