Students from 11 schools in Charlotte County participate in the Sunshine State Young Reader’s Award Program. This is a statewide motivational reading program co-sponsored by the School Library Media Services Office of the Department of Education. Its purpose is to encourage students, from grades 3 through 8, to read independently for personal enjoyment. Each year an age-appropriate list of 15 books is selected by a committee of Florida Library Media Specialists. They supply resources and tools as they help to coordinate the efforts with the students’ instructors. The students’ progress is tracked from October to March and the program ends when they vote in the statewide balloting for their favorite book of the year! The program has been going strong and continues to grow ever since its inception in 1983.
All students who participate and read 1 book from the list will receive a participation certificate. Students who read 3 or more books will qualify to vote. They will also receive a gift pack consisting of a bookmark, pencil and other fun things. At a higher level of 7 or more books, students will be invited to attend a special luncheon in the Library this spring. The top level will consist of those dedicated readers who read all 15 books. These students will receive a $25 gift certificate to Barnes & Noble.
The Charlotte County Supervisor of Elections Office, in a coordinated effort with each school’s faculty, helps to facilitate the voting process for the most popular book from each group of students. Our Facilities Director programs and deploys the voting tabulation equipment such as the iVotronic™ Electronic Touch Screen Voting machines, privacy booths, ballot box, and "I Voted" stickers. This equipment is provided so Charlotte County schools can participate in this statewide initiative.
Beginning March 20th, 2013 at Punta Gorda Middle School and crisscrossing the county over 34 days the project will wrap up on April 23, 2013 at St. Charles Borromeo School. Students from each of the 11 schools will cast their votes and anxiously await the results to see if their selection won.
The combined efforts mesh the program goals with that of the Outreach goals of the Supervisor's office. Hon. Paul A. Stamoulis is committed to raising awareness of the voting process. The Sunshine State Young Reader’s Award Program ties in with the Supervisor of Elections Office Mission Statement: to …increase voter awareness and education for citizens of ALL ages, starting with our youth. By starting with our youth, the Supervisor of Elections works on the very foundation of the roots of our future voters.
Liz Burke is the Outreach Coordinator representing the Charlotte County Supervisor of Elections. She schedules the eligible schools and is responsible for coordinating all of the efforts from staff and faculty in order to provide for a smooth election. The combined efforts of multiple SOE staff members, such as Lori Harney, IT Director, William Richert, Facilities Director and everyone in between help make it possible for a culmination of a finished ballot and successful election for the students.
As long as there is a willingness and desire on the part of the schools to have the SOE Office participate in educating our future voters, the Hon. Paul A. Stamoulis, along with his knowledgeable staff, will gladly assist in any way possible. You are encouraged to visit our website often. We work hard at maintaining fresh and innovative ways to communicate relevant information about the mechanics of voting.
As soon as the results come in, the Sunshine State Young Reader’s Award Program for the most popular book read by the students will post on our website.
We wish the young readers the best of luck, and many thanks to the faculty and schools who work hard on this collaborative effort. Here’s to our future voters and future leaders. Share your knowledge and Read On!