Rock Island-Milan School District holds annual State of the Schools address

ROCK ISLAND, Illinois (KWQC) - The Rock Island-Milan school district highlighted last year's accomplishments during their state of the schools address, but they also tackled this year's challenges. One of those challenges started as a summer campaign, but has since become an everyday one.

The #ROCKTOWNREADS campaign was only supposed to encourage students to read during the summer months, but because of the success the district decided to continue the trend. During the state of the schools address, Superintendent Dr. Mike Oberhaus said that going into this school year that was something they wanted to continue to stress and push towards students, saying that reading is the backbone of learning in general.

"Reading doesn't just occur in schools, if we really want to have effective readers we really have to develop a passion for reading 24/7," said Oberhaus. "We know that if a child is not reading effectively their probability of success in school is greatly diminished. Education is a lot about reading, and if I can't use reading strategies and skills to learn new material it really diminishes my ability to be successful."

Communications Director for the Rock Island-Milan School District, Holly Sparkman, says that using social media to encourage reading has really taken off. "Social media is what it is and we know the kids spend a lot of time on their phones," she said. "If we can encourage them to get off of their phone for 20 minutes to read maybe their reward at the end is they can take a selfie, use #ROCKTOWNREADS, and promote literacy."

Dr. Oberhaus knows that trending topics on social media makes a big impact on students these days. "We know that people are influencers," he said. "When people see people that they respect are passionate about reading and are reading themselves, then maybe we can influence people to want to read more."