Posted by Joan Barrett, Rotary Club of Scarborough

Be Reading continues to grow! We are now at approximately 365,773 users worldwide.  What is Be Reading?

Be Reading is the new name for The Free Reading Program initiated by the Rotary Club of Scarborough, approximately six years ago and brought to us by one of our newer members. His proposal included the idea that this online reading programme would be a wonderful public relations tool for our Club, while providing a free proven literacy program for students in grades K – 6. With the installation of a widget (Free Reading) installed on our website, the program would be free to all given access. What a wonderful gift to Rotary and a powerful Area of Focus initiative! ......

This online literacy program is used worldwide both in class time to assist struggling readers and to teach oral language and English reading skills to younger students and adults; as well as in After School Programming opportunities.  Use with adults was a surprise even to us!  Most of these opportunities are made possible by the support of local Rotary Clubs here and around the world.

We have presented to many Rotary Clubs (in many districts, not just 7070), at a District 7070 Conference, a Zone Conference, won a Zone Award, had a booth 4 times at The House of Friendship (one virtual) and won a BELRAG Award a couple of years ago. As well, we have moved on and established a Be Reading Not - for – Profit which consists of Rotarians, a Rotaractor and one friend of Rotary as directors.

 We are proud to say that at last count, there were 16 clubs in District 7070 who have sponsored the use of Be Reading.

During the pandemic, we have had many parents contact us to find out how they can get connected to Be Reading to support their struggling child. They report back how engaging their child finds it, even those with exceptionalities. A testimonial: Thank you so much to the Rotary Club who makes this possible. I hope it brings as much relief to other families as mine. Just one of the many we receive every week.

We are currently involved in a fundraising event to help keep our website up and running.  Our growth has created a volume issue as we continue to grow around the world.  This is a problem we started encountering about a year and a half ago. Our campaign is called a Light for Literacy – Creating a Brighter Future One Candle at a Time. The candles are made by a Rotaractor who lives in the Ottawa area, was a Rotary exchange student and is originally from Brazil – Eloisa de Castro Costa. Again, keeping Rotary very much a part of Be Reading! A miniature of the flyer is at the bottom of this article.

Our literacy project has grown well beyond our expectations and has succeeded in putting our club out there as a strong supporter of literacy at home and around the world.

As Rotarians, we know how important it is to have a chance for all to have an education and the impact it has on a person’s future in our world.

 A fact you may not know is that 17% of the world’s adult population is illiterate.

As Rotarians, we need to strengthen the capacity of our communities and continue to support basic education and literacy for ALL.


Yours in Rotary,

Joan Barrett

Rotary Club of Scarborough

Director of Membership & Public Image