Staten Island’s Reading Program is Inspiring Kids to Read

Staten Island Readers are Leaders Program

Students from Staten Island read the hit novel Way of the Warrior Kid for their Readers are Leaders program.

Each Spring, 4th graders across Staten Island participate in the Readers are Leaders program. Students from 50 schools are challenged to read a minimum of six books during a five-week period and write a book report on their favorite book. Each school then nominates one “Exceptional Reader” to receive an award in a special ceremony in May.

In 2017, the program expanded to include a summer reading challenge. Staten Island’s Borough President James Oddo had just finished reading the #1 New York Times bestseller Extreme Ownership: How U.S. Navy Seals Lead and Win and wanted to find a way to relay the leadership principles to the students of Staten Island. Luckily, the co-author of Extreme Ownership, Jocko Willink, had just released his new kids book, Way of the Warrior Kid.  Oddo decided to incorporate this book into a summer reading challenge for incoming 5th graders. All participants were required to read the book and write a book report. They were then invited to a special event at the end of the summer with Jocko as the special guest.

Readers are Leaders

The event was a huge success and the book really inspired the students to get out and become leaders. For that reason, they decided to make Way of the Warrior Kid a required title for all  2018 Readers Are Leaders participants.

BookPal partnered with the Office of the Borough President to provide 1,800 Way of the Warrior Kid books to the Staten Island students. This summer, the Staten Island summer reading challenge continued with the second book in the Way of the Warrior Kid series, Marc’s Mission.

This year marks the 22nd year of the Readers are Leaders program. Since the program launched, over 110,000 students have participated in reading more than half a million books! “This is one of my favorite things to do” states Allison Cohen, Director of Communications and External Affairs for the Office of the Staten Island Borough President. “When you see the kids so excited, it makes it all worth it.”

Here at BookPal, we love hearing about the great things our clients are doing with books! How are you empowering your students or employees to connect, learn, and grow? Comment below – we’d love to hear about it!

Download BookPal's 2018-2019 Education Catalog


This post was written by Megan Habel, the brand strategist at BookPal. She is currently reading The Girls of Atomic City by Denise Kiernan.

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