Salute to Reading
The Jackson in Action 83 Foundation launched the Salute to Reading program during assemblies at Ballast Point, Chiaramonte, and Tinker Elementary schools in October 2013. An incentive and recognition program designed to award outstanding students for reading improvement, the program includes students in third, fourth, and fifth grades. In keeping with the foundation’s mission of supporting military children and families, the Salute to Reading program runs in these three elementary schools, which contain a high percentage of MacDill Air Force Base personnel’s children.
Working with the schools’ reading coaches, teachers, and administrators, students are encouraged to achieve certain milestones based on their personal reading goals. Each month, three students from each school (one from each grade) are selected by school staff members to attend a meet and greet with Vincent at One Buccaneer Place. At the end of the school year, all the students selected throughout the year are invited to attend a year-end celebration. The first Salute to Reading Year-End Celebration was held on Thursday, May 15, 2014 at the Glazer Children’s Museum where the 63 young students and their parents explored the museum exhibits, enjoyed dinner in the banquet hall, and were treated to a surprise reading by Vincent of Danny Dogtags: Dealing with Deployment. In 2015 and 2016, the year-end celebrations were held at Tampa’s Lowry Park Zoo where the children got to enjoy the petting zoo and rides located in Wallaroo Station.
The goal of the program is to encourage students to develop their reading skills, and the program falls in line with the foundation’s mission of supporting military children’s educational health. Studies show that when children read just 20 minutes per day, it can increase their abilities in all subject areas, including writing, memory, spelling, and more.