The goal of the First R Foundation is to improve the reading and comprehension skills of young children in a school environment through oral reading of a book presented to the classroom by professional, political, and civic leaders of the Cape Ann community. It is believed this two-fold process will emphasize the value of reading and empower students in their community by meeting leaders in their own classroom. The result is that the parents will be inspired by the example of these leaders and will also read aloud to their children at home.
The First R program was started by Pat Earle in 2004 after the closing of the libraries in the Elementary schools in Gloucester due to budget constraints. The program was offered to the Kindergartens and First Grades in the Gloucester school system and those private schools that opted to join. Four years later the program was invited to expand into the Rockport school system.
Value of Reading
Prominent local leaders have volunteered to serve as readers. The readers visit the schools once a month to read a brand new hard cover book aloud to all of Kindergarten and First Grade classes. When the readers have finished reading, they leave the book in the classroom as a gift so the children can take the books home and have their parents to re-read the books to them. The hope is that by the end of the year the children will be able to read the books themselves.
Cape Ann Savings Bank
Institution for Savings
Patricia Earle, Founder