Literacy Suggestions


District 5000 Literacy Suggestions

There are lots of ideas on the District 5000 Literacy website to choose from. In addition we’ve included some suggestions based on the Five Avenues of Service below.

Club Service:

  • Recruit a new club member with a literacy classification
  • Schedule a Literary Speaker for March for Literacy Month
  • Devote a club meeting to creating awareness of literacy projects in March for Literacy Month
  • Conduct a Rotary theme of the month project. For example, in December choose “Family Literacy” by   giving students a new book to take home and read with their family during the winter vacation from school
  • Send club members to a literacy seminar or any literacy conference and have the members report to the club on that seminar/conference

Vocational Service:

  • Sponsor, perhaps with an Interact Club, a high school workshop that teaches vocational literacy based on the Four Way Test
  • Participate in a Vocational Mock Interview Day at a high school
  • Honor school principals at a club meeting
  • Give a Literacy Recognition Award to an outstanding private citizen who supports literacy
  • Partner with community programs to promote adult literacy
  • Conduct a youth mentoring or job shadowing program
  • Participate in an adult literacy project utilizing the vocational skills of members. Contact Hawaii Literacy to learn how to get involved 808 537-6706

Community Service:

  • Dictionary Project - Rotary clubs donate dictionaries to third grade students
  • Keiki Vision Program – Rotarians and friends of Rotarians conduct vision screening for school students.
  • Do a project listed in the publication Every School A Star Toolkit. The publication was created in partnership between Rotary International and the International Reading Association.
  • Engage in a school partnerships such as :
    • Rotary Readers – Rotarians and friends of Rotarians volunteer to read to small groups of students or to the whole class on a regular basis. This can be as often as weekly, or monthly, or even every other month. It is wonderful to do this with all grade levels from PK to 6th grades.
    • Rotary Mentors - Rotarians and friends of Rotarians volunteer to work with at-risk students that need extra help. This can be done after school on a weekly basis, where the Mentor helps the student with homework, or subject areas the student needs extra help with, or by simply being a positive adult role model for the student and spending quality time with him or her. It is wonderful to do this with all grade levels from PK to 6th grades.
    • Rotary Sings with preschool students – Rotarians and friends of Rotarians volunteer to sing with preschool students. This is a wonderful way to help young children with oral language development. This can be done on a monthly basis and be very effective and rewarding. One can get songbooks for preschool singing at local libraries or buy songbooks in stores or online. Just type in preschool songs in books at and you will get many choices to select from. Many of the books come with CDs to help one learn the songs.  
    • Assistance for student lunch programs. A hungry child cannot be ready to learn.
  • Literacy Month in Rotary is in March each year. (March 1st is World Book Day; March 2nd is Dr. Seuss Day in the U.S.) Some schools hold a special Read to Me Day in honor of Literacy month. Check with the school librarian or Principal of schools your club supports to see if they do this or would like to do it. It usually involves reading to whole classes of students for about 20 to 30 minutes per grade level, during a school morning. It usually runs about one hour or so.
  • Family Literacy Night – this is another great idea for March’s Literacy Month. Contact a school or Community Center, Girls/Boys clubs etc. to see if they would be interested. The activity usually runs about an hour. It occurs at the end of the day when parents pick up their children. First a light snack is offered, such as fruit, cheese and crackers. Rotarians, who cut up the snacks in advance, supply the snacks. After the snack break, children and their parents, grand parents, aunties, uncles, and Rotarians, gather in small groups, and read together. Adults can read to children, and children can read to adults. It is great fun and supports our love of reading with others in our local communities. Books can be purchased for this and then donated to the schools, community centers, etc. to help grow their library.
  • Speaker Books - Give your speakers a book to sign and donate it to a school’s library or community center’s library from your club.
  • Books for Newborns - Presenting a book to a newborn child and its mother in the hospital after the child’s birth. This program promotes literacy from birth and increases the bond between mother and child. Contact: Gloria King for additional information. This is a project she created.
  • Support a Computer –Assisted Literacy Solution (CALS) or similar program.
  • Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library project
  • Register the Title I Schools your club supports with First Book. You can also register your own Rotary Club with First Book. Clubs may choose to use District Grant money or other fundraiser money to buy books for the students at Title I Schools they support. First Book’s mission is to get new books into the hands of individual students at Title I Schools. Their website is
  • Sign up with Scholastic Literacy Partners. Scholastic Literacy Partners. This allows a Rotary club to buy books for individual students at any school. It does not have to be a Title I School. Clubs may choose to use District Grant money or fundraiser money to buy books for the students at those schools. Their website is
  • SOUNS is a literacy program for early childhood. Their website is
  • Sandparents is a program for early childhood. Their website is
  • Good Beginnings Alliance – This organization “uses its influence and expertise to coordinate action toward the organization of a statewide system of services and support that ensures all Hawaii’s children 0 to 5 years old are safe, healthy, and ready to succeed.” Their website is
  • Join or support a local project to raise funds for a school or other literacy organization. Many clubs are involved in Rotary Goes Back to School, where club members stand outside a store, Longs, Wal-Mart, Office Max, etc., and collect school supplies that the store’s customers buy and donate. Then the clubs give the school supplies to schools they support.
  • Rain Gutter Book Shelf Project - Rotarians installing rain gutter bookshelves in classrooms to display children’s books “face out” rather than “spine out”. Students experience an increased interest and excitement for reading because of the more visible presentation of book in rain gutters.
  • Recycled Books and Magazines Distribution to Elderly Care Homes, Hospitals, Prisons, and Children’s Hospitals.

International Service:

  • Train volunteers in English as a Second Language (ESL) instructors
  • Participate in a literacy and education-focused international project that is connected to health, hunger, and water concerns.
  • Devote a club meeting in September to International Literacy (International Literacy Day is September 8) To learn more go to
  • Have a program focusing on Rotary’s cooperative relationship with the International Reading Association. The publication Every School A Star Toolkit was created in partnership between Rotary International and the International Reading Association. 
  • Support the Save the Children in Uganda. Visit the website to learn more.
  • Give Hope Give a Hand. Providing functioning prosthetic hands at no cost to recipients. This is an incredible project that gives people who have lost their hands a new chance. Once the prosthetic hand is attached, they can immediately pick up a pen and use it to write with, use the prosthetic hand to type on a computer keyboard, and use it for everyday tasks like eating and drinking. People can go to school and get an education. This changes lives! Go to this website to learn more: There is a short video that is worth your time to view!
  • PACE Universal  Promise of Assurance to Children Everywhere (PACE) is a non profit California Corporation which was established in 2003 with distinct missions:
    • To nurture the educational, health, nutritional, social and cultural development of girls in impoverished areas of India and other parts of the world.
    • To build, in Piyali Junction (outside Calcutta), the first prototype PACE
    • Learning Center (PLC) complex to serve as a model for the delivery of these services all over the world. Monetary donations enable girls to go to school in India.
  • Read Three Cups of Tea and Turning Stones Into Schools, by author Greg Mortensen. He was one of the Plenary Session speakers at the 2010 RI Convention in Montreal Canada. He said, "You educate a boy, you benefit that individual. You educate a girl, you benefit that community."
  • ESCUELITA YO PUEDO Partnering for Sustainable Community Development in Central America. Go to this website to learn more

Youth Service:

  • Conduct a Four Way Test Poster Exhibition Project for Elementary and Middle School Students. (The file about doing this project is on the D5000 website under the Literacy Link.) This project was created by Gale Warshawsky and was done successfully by Rotarians in the RC of Windward Oahu Sunrise and in the RC of Waikiki. Working with students in the after school A+ program in a school supported by your club, students work in teams of 4. They draw pictures and write sentences about each part of the Four Way Test. The completed posters are displayed in the school’s cafeteria for all to view.
  • Conduct a Four Way Test Essay Project for High School students. (The file about doing this project is on the D5000 website under the Literacy Link.)
  • Peace Poster/Essay Contest – This is a partnership project that was created by Past Presidents Carol Riley and Gale Warshawsky in 2009-2010. (The files for it, including the rubric for scoring the work, are on the D5000 website under the Literacy Link.) This was a very successful project and anyone is welcome to do it with his or her own Rotary club. The members of the RC of Waikiki’s Early Act club (7th graders) engaged in creating posters and writing essays about what peace meant to them in their school community, home community, and world community. They worked in teams of 3 or 4. If you do this project, then Rotarians from your club get to judge the posters and essays and a first place team and first runner up team are selected. The winning teams may be invited to your Rotary Club for lunch and then they read their winning essays to the club members. Colored copies of all the posters may be reproduced and placed on the tables at that meeting so all could see the wonderful work.
  • Sponsor college scholarships at the club level for high school students.
  • Participate in the Hawaii Rotary Youth Foundation (HRYF) Scholarship interviews and donate money to HRYF.
  • Conduct character literacy projects such as:
  • Make a gift of books such as Elmer and Andy’s Apple Dumpling Adventure