Reading is Leading
Mortar Board members have had national projects since the earliest days of our Society. In 2002 the delegates passionately decided to participate in the "Reading is Leading" initiative.
Why "Reading is Leading"?
Mortar Board members can help cultivate strong ethics by reading stories, newspaper articles and current events issues to or alongside students at various levels of education. Major issues like academic integrity, reading comprehension, and the value of an education should be addressed early on at elementary and secondary schools, and members have the opportunity to build fulfilling relationships with those that they are reading to or reading with. Members may work with students of any age, including helping non-native English-speakers to learn English as a second language (ESL).
Mortar Board strives to promote literacy across the world for people of all ages, and individual chapters conduct read-a-thins, book drives (trick-or-treat for books, book drops, book fundraising competitions with prizes for other student organizations), adopt-a-school programs that challenge other student organizations on campus, reading programs at children’s hospitals and nursing homes, and functional literacy workshops.
"Reading is Leading" is applicable to any race, creed, color, ethnicity, socioeconomic group, regardless of region, gender or age; it is versatile enough to be applied to any chapter’s goals or aspirations. Mortar Board can help cultivate academic integrity and a love of learning in elementary and secondary schools by reading stories, newspaper articles and current events issues with students.
"Reading is Leading" can also help to improve “town and gown” relations by bringing campus leaders into the community to work with students and the elderly. Additionally, topics like alcohol use can be read and discussed with older students. The project appeals to potential corporate sponsors across the political spectrum. It is nonpartisan and politically ‘safe’ for companies and foundations to endorse with grant monies. Moreover, it is an attractive political issue at the moment in light of recent waves of youth violence, making it an excellent candidate for corporate sponsorship.
By targeting reading as a response to youth violence issues and children at risk, Mortar Board tackles a national issue with a practical, pro-active program. This program can only serve to increase Mortar Board’s visibility both locally and nationally. Reading gives a volunteer the chance to share with her/his reading partner and to talk about things related to the story, like leadership, that can be very influential. Reading to someone may be just a simple act of service, but it can have a profound effect in the lives of others.