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Sarasota County Schools and Rotary Club of Sarasota Partner to Launch “Rotary Reading Project”

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Sarasota County Schools - Rotary Reading Project

SARASOTA COUNTY, September 26, 2018 – Sarasota County Schools is pleased to announce that the Rotary Club of Sarasota’s “Rotary Reading Project” will soon be launching district-wide for all first and fourth grade students.

Sponsored by the Rotary Club of Sarasota Foundation, the Mote Scientific Foundation and all other Area Rotary Clubs, the Rotary Club of Sarasota will be presenting every first grader in Sarasota County will receive the book The Magic Fish and every fourth grader will receive the book Wonder. Teachers will also be receiving specialized toolkits full of interactive lessons and engaging content to teach the students overarching concepts of greed, kindness, tolerance and civility, among others. Classes will be encouraged to share their thoughts and will participate in themed learning activities throughout the year.

“We are very thankful to have this multi-level learning and character building opportunity for our approximately 2,700 first graders and 2,800 fourth graders,” said Todd Bowden, superintendent of Sarasota County Schools. “Now more than ever, it is important for us to model kindness and promote understanding in our community. Students will benefit academically and civically from this program, and we hope they will be excited to share these stories with their family and friends. We encourage families to engage in the provided discussions and activities to deepen their child’s understanding of the story concepts.”

“We appreciate the Rotary Club of Sarasota for their continued commitment to supporting our focus on literacy, character and citizenship,” commented Chris Renouf, executive director of Elementary Schools. “This common literacy learning experience will create opportunities for rich conversation and collaboration amongst teams of teachers, thousands of our students and their families. What a phenomenal partnership for our school communities.”

“It is important to our organization to be useful in critical areas of need in the community, and we feel literacy and citizenship are core skills children should have,” noted Ben Bates, current area governor for all Sarasota Rotary clubs. “These principles directly correlate to the values of the Rotary Club. We wanted to support the positive measures Sarasota County Schools is already piloting relating to civility and academics and help them expand their efforts. We hope momentum continues to build as the kids connect with their classmates and family members about these stories.”

The book The Magic Fish was selected for first graders because it emphasizes the danger of greed and the importance of being grateful. The novel Wonder, selected for fourth graders, is about a boy with Treacher Collins Syndrome and sheds light on the social difficulties that can come with looking “different”.


About Sarasota Rotary Clubs

Started by the Rotary Club of Sarasota 1926, Rotary in Sarasota is one of this community’s oldest active community leadership organization(s).  Over 300 members across six clubs, Rotary in Sarasota has supported Sarasota County Schools in many ways including; the One Book Initiative, Kindergarten Readiness Bags, Food Pantries, Dictionaries, & Josh The Otter.

About Sarasota County Schools

Sarasota County Schools is committed to providing unrivaled academic, emotional and civic growth to every student, every day. As one of the leading employers on the Suncoast, Sarasota County Schools boasts 53 schools that expertly cater to the diverse needs of over 43,000 students. We are one of two Florida school districts to consistently earn an A-grade every year since 2004. Our passionate educators empower students to take charge of their academic and personal success, a practice we believe fosters lifelong growth and achievement. We actively maintain the district’s tradition of excellence and ensure that tradition extends to all students. Our commitment to our students extends beyond graduation to make sure they not only graduate on time, but do so college and career ready. Want to take your student’s education to the next level? Connect with us on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter, or visit


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