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Rescue Readers

A group of Woodland Forrest Elementary School first graders recently learned that reading is a big responsibility! Seventy-one students participated in a pilot program with Tuscaloosa Career & Technology Academy in which students had the opportunity to adopt a pet Beanie Baby with the promise that he or she will commit to reading 15 minutes per night with their new pet.

It's called the Rescue Reader initiative and it was designed to support the TCS Reading By 3rd Grade (RB3) literacy initative that the Alabama State Department of Education requires. By reading aloud to their pet, WFES students will learn and develop valuable cognitive skills to help carry them through their educational journey. They will also learn responsibility through caring for a pet. 

On Wednesday, students participated in an Adoption Ceremony where they received an official adoption certificate.

"They adopted a Beanie Baby animal today, made a promise to keep them healthy and happy by reading to them for 15 minutes every night, and celebrated their promise with cupcakes," said Meagan Hudson, Woodland Forrest Elementary librarian. "TCTA even gave them a book to read to their new pets to get them started off right!"

Community partner Libby Listens also provided students and their pet with an accessory: bandanas. Each students was able to select their very own accessory for their new friends.

TCTA principal Danielle Morton says the partnership fits into her school's strategy to help students see career technical education (CTE) courses as a viable option.

"TCTA is working hard to give exposure to CTE programs at the elementary level," said Morton. "It’s never too early."