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Rosey Readers Program Cultivates Family Reading Tradition in Elementary Schools

The Rosey Reader program, founded by Richard and Lois Rosenthal in 1993, follows students for life. Rosey Readers provides pre-K through second-grade students with a book to read with their families every night. When the family finishes, the student returns the book for a new one. The student who reads the most books are rewarded with a book and gift at the end of the year. 

Mikayla Austin, a Remedial Reading Specialist at Pleasant Hill, and a shining example of the program's success, stands as one of the first Rosey Reader prize winners from Carthage Paideia back in 1995. Reflecting on her experience and providing her students with books, Austin says, "I actually attended the program and was in one of the first classrooms. So it's kind of like a full circle moment for me."

The program encourages students to select a book each night, inviting them to read and engage with their families. Whether it's a sibling, a parent or any other family member, the program envisions nurturing reading skills through experience.

Austin’s lifelong passion for reading was ignited during her participation in the program, "I am still a very avid reader. I read all the time and not because I have to, I read because I truly like it, even as a kid."

Rosey Reader not only encourages a child’s love for reading but also helps families with limited access to libraries. Austin emphasizes the program's convenience, "We have a lot of families in our district who may not be able to make it to a library. So, the fact that children can bring these books home with them, gives them the opportunity to carve out five minutes a night to read with their family at home."

Austin now stands on the other side, ensuring its continued success in schools. She reminisces about her early days in the program, bringing "our little canvas bags" home and gaining her family's support. 

From its start 30 years ago, the Rosey Reader program is continuing to grow the power of education, family engagement and a shared love for literature for CPS’ youngest learners. 

The Rosey Reader program starts October for Pre-k through third-grade students at:

  • Clifton Area Neighborhood School 

  • Cheviot School 

  • College Hill Fundamental Academy 

  • Covedale School 

  • Fredrick Douglass School

  • Ethel M. Taylor Academy 

  • Fairview-Clifton German School 

  • Hartwell School 

  • Hays-Porter School 

  • Hyde park School 

  • John P. Parker 

  • Midway School 

  • North Avondale Montessori 

  • Parker Woods Montessori School 

  • Pleasant Hill Academy 

  • Rising Stars at Ezzard Charles