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Books, Bikes & More Than 300k Minutes Read: Intel+Rio Rancho Public Schools’ New Reading Initiative

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By Sara Barakat, Intel New Mexico Public Affairs Intern

What inspired your love of reading? For some it might have been the opportunity to experience a new world, for others it might be the encouragement they received from an inspiring teacher or librarian, and for many second graders at Rio Rancho Public Schools, our hope is their love of reading has been sparked by a new collaboration between Intel and the school district.

When my colleague Raquel Leon, who oversees our New Mexico volunteering and outreach programs, and I first approached the district about a collaborative idea aimed to promote childhood literacy, we were thrilled at the prospect of reaching every second grader across Rio Rancho’s 12 elementary schools and encouraging them to read books. After all, we know that educational attainment is a key determinant for an individual’s quality of life, and reading is a fundamental skill children need to continue learning and succeeding in school and life.

After a bit of planning, our collaborative “Reading for Miles” initiative was launched. Throughout National Reading Month in March, second graders across the district were challenged to read as much as they could with the promise of a prize for each class’s top reader: a new bike, given to them by the district and assembled by Intel employee volunteers.

Once the month started, participating students quickly rose to the challenge, and, by the end of March, they logged more than 300,000 minutes of reading across the district. Their dedication to the reading challenge extended even beyond school hours, and one librarian shared with us that students were excited to read more books during their upcoming spring break. Knowing this, both Intel and Rio Rancho Public Schools were thrilled to see that Reading for Miles did exactly as we hoped: encouraged more children to read.

And while students were busy reading, our Intel New Mexico volunteers were also busy as they donated their time to assembling the bikes that students were soon to receive.

On their own or in teams, across several of Intel’s working shifts, our New Mexico volunteers assembled 48 bikes in total, all while generating volunteer time eligible for the Intel Foundation’s matching program.  It was amazing to see the ongoing dedication of our employees to our community – something I’m lucky enough to see every day by supporting Intel New Mexico’s volunteer program.  

But my favorite thing about supporting this initiative? Knowing what it’s meant to participating students, and, of course, knowing how excited students were when they received their bikes from the district.

For more information about Rio Rancho Public Schools, please visit www.rrps.net

To learn more about Intel in New Mexico, visit intel.com/NewMexico.