Project READ in Those in Need

Everyone knows the name of Project Read, but what exactly is Project Read? Mrs. Tiebout said recently that READ stands for Reading, Enjoyment, Achievement, and Discovery. Each term, the students need to read one book of their choice and review it.  The review can be as creative as the students like.

Project Read started 18 years ago when Mrs. Tiebout began the job of librarian for Rectory School. In the past, there used to be a course called Reading, so every day, the students took English and Reading. And the students needed to write 10 pages for the reviews. When Mrs. Tiebout came, the students and teachers told her that they were unable to stand it; in other words, they had a lot of pressure completing the 10-page book reviews. So it was decided to cancel the Reading course and create Project Read.

Mrs. Tiebout really wants students to find a book that interests them, she said, “No one really hates reading; they have just not found the right book. It is important to read because it will make you a better person, develop empathy, feelings, and understanding. Finding a good book that you can identify with creates a deeper understanding of yourself and the world. Project Read is really important in your life.“ Don’t just take Mrs. Tiebout’s word for it…

Last month, Mrs. Tiebout described a student who read a book that changed her life.  Her name is Yitong Wu. She graduated from Rectory four years ago, where she was a wonderful student, now in college at UPenn. “A Thousand Splendid Suns was a book that changed my life path.” Yitong got interested in the history of Afghanistan after reading the book, and she even did days searching on it herself just out of pure curiosity.  The book is about social justice and equality, and it made Yitong reflect on her own identity and experiences. She realized how literature could be a powerful tool to raise awareness of social issues and found that she really enjoyed reading and writing this kind of work. After the semester, Yitong went on a marathon of reading historical fiction that addressed issues of social justice. These titles included works like Beloved, The House on Mango Street, and American Born Chinese. Still today, Yitong is writing and seeking ways to help the community.

Yitong really likes her life now and she liked her life at Rectory. She would say that she has a more clear idea now of the kind of person she wants to be and the things that she wants to achieve. Rectory provided her with a lot of opportunities to explore her interests, and she puts a lot of passion into everything she does. “My passion for literature, for squash, and for social justice initiatives all started when I was a student there,” she said. Now Yitong will put this passion into practice, thinking about ways she could use her writing skills and knowledge in business to bridge the gap between the two cultures that she grew up in. In the past year, she read approximately 15 books from all different genres. She is invested in racial studies and narratives of minority communities, and a lot of the work she read were anthologies about the Asian-American experience. Some of Yitong’s other favorite books are The Book Thief by Markus Zusak, and Citizen by Claudia Rankine. She read most of these works during her free time at Rectory and “I would highly recommend Rectory students to check out these books from the library for their semester readings.”  said Yitong. As a teenager, Yitong read a lot of historical fiction, which is still her favorite genre. Now, she is reading a lot of psychology books, the current one being Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion.