In years past, the Durham Rotary Club focused on affordable housing initiatives, but once it learned 41 percent of children in the district failed their reading test last year, Taylor said the club decided to make literacy a priority.
Since last year, Y.E. Smith Elementary reading test pass rate has jumped from 48 percent to 62 percent.
The club teamed with Durham Public Schools last year after Y.E Smith’s principal, Letisha Judd, approached the club asking for money to purchase non-fiction books for the school. The school hadn’t had a new book since 2003, Durham Rotary Club President Don Stanger said.
The Durham Rotary Club raised $3,800 for the school’s library, but then Taylor said, “I got the bright idea, if we got them the books, we should read them the books, too.”