Literacy Outreach Initiative Brings 4th Grade Students to Campus

For the second straight year, the College of Charleston is hosting 400 4th grade students from the Charleston County School District (CCSD) as part of the Literacy Outreach Initiative (LOI). On December 13 and 14, 2012, students from seven local elementary schools will be on campus from 10 a.m. until 1 p.m. to build upon LOI’s school outreach curriculum and for exposure to a college campus environment and higher education.

In anticipation of the 4th grade students’ campus visit, first-year Honors College students are leading a school outreach program that utilizes a curriculum based on the young reader edition of “Running a Thousand Miles for Freedom.” The curriculum was designed by faculty in the College of Charleston Department of Teacher Education and includes four interactive lessons. In one lesson, the 4th grade students use costumes and props to act out a “Reader’s Theater” portion of the book. In another, they write and illustrate comic strips exploring what may have happened after the Crafts gained their freedom.

While on campus, 4th grade students will visit the Avery Research Center to see artifacts documenting the Crafts’ lives and hear a talk from the Crafts’ great-great-granddaughter. In addition, tours of Rivers Residence Hall and Addlestone Library will introduce the living and working environs of college students and allow Honors College students to convey their experiences at the College. The visit will culminate in lunch in Stern Ballroom with College student-athletes and Clyde the Cougar.

“The Literacy Outreach Initiative helped me establish a connection to my new home in Charleston, plus it has showed me that I have an interest in working with kids,” says Ryan Spraker, a freshman in the Honors College. “Fourth graders are at an age where they can easily be influenced. I hope to serve as a positive mentor and help them to see that college is a great and achievable step for them to find a bright future.”

All first-year students in the Honors College take part in community engagement placements through LOI. Many freshmen choose to work with CCSD students from Pepperhill Elementary School, James Simmons Elementary School, Memminger School of Global Studies, Mitchell Elementary School, Mary Ford Elementary School, Chicora School of Communications, and Sanders Clyde Creative Arts School.

“LOI can open Honors College students’ eyes,” says Charlie Rosemond, LOI project manager and AmeriCorps*VISTA. “Many first-years are looking to get involved but lack the knowledge or resources to begin. This project introduces them to the greater Charleston area and connects them with many of its community engagement opportunities.”

Through its school outreach and campus visits, LOI aims to inspire in schoolchildren a love of reading and an understanding that literacy skills are crucial to educational achievement. Further, LOI encourages setting long-range academic goals like attending and graduating from college.

The Literacy Outreach Initiative is a collaborative project of the Honors College, the School of Education, Health, and Human Performance, the Avery Research Center, the Office of Civic Engagement, the Honor Society of Phi Kappa Phi and The College Reads! This project is funded thanks to the generosity of the National Collegiate Honor Council.

For more information, contact Charlie Rosemond at