Ready Set Grow (RSG) Kids

The 2015 RSG Kids wrote and published “I Have the ABCs in My Hand.” The book is available at all public libraries in Adams County. 

The RSG Kids started as a leadership and service project and blossomed to impact the whole community. Music teacher, Sarah Guilford, told a group of Adams School third-graders about a 2012 survey that showed 78 percent of the 3-year-olds entering Quincy’s Early Childhood and Family Center didn’t recognize any letters, and 80 percent didn’t recognize any numbers.

Guilford invited all Adams School third-graders to help do something about this — by taking part in a special project aimed at putting more books into the hands of babies and toddlers. More than a third of the school’s 90 third-graders, with permission from their parents, stepped forward to help as the project got under way in January.

The students involved in this project had to fill out “job applications” and were assigned specific tasks suited to their skills. Gabby, for instance, was asked to help with public relations. Others were tasked with other duties, such as writing, sketching, coloring or publishing.

Guilford said she decided to spearhead a reading project at Adams School after she heard about the “Ready. Set. Grow.” initiative being launched by United Way and the Regional Office of Education.

As a music teacher, Guilford felt it was important for the book to feature some sort of musical element. So she decided to base the book on a popular folk song about a dog named Bingo, “except we’ll add more verses to it,” she said. Each verse — written by students — requires children to sing and spell different animals’ names while touching the letters in each word.

“There’s tons of research out there about how music can be used as a learning tool,” Guilford said.

“When the child is looking at the letters in the word  Bingo and hearing them and touching them and singing them, they’re involving all different parts of the brain,” she said. “And the more connections your brain can make with something, the more likely it is to be remembered.”

Guilford also feels the RSG Kid project will have other benefits besides helping preschoolers. She thinks it will help the third-graders as well. “We want to help our preschool readers, but we also want to help our third-graders become leaders and do something good for the community,”  said Sarah Guilford,  “Collaborating with members of the community to help prepare Quincy’s youngest citizens for kindergarten was an honor for my students.  The lessons my students learned from the project went far beyond reading, writing and speaking.  The greatest lessons they learned touched their hearts.   They experienced the joy that comes from caring and sharing.  They experienced the reward of confidence that comes from meeting and exceeding expectations, and they experienced the peace of fulfillment that comes when you make a positive difference in the lives of others.  Quincy Medical Group’s support of our project provides another life-lesson for my students.  It affirms the fact that the sky is the limit when you give your best in synergizing with others to make a difference in the lives of those around us.”

The thing that stands out to United Way staff is that these kids really get it, and they get it at a very young age.  They work together as a team towards a common goal. They are all proud of their role in the process and take ownership for it.  And most importantly , they found true joy and satisfaction in giving to others.  They created something unique and special for the community and this accomplishment will be something that will have great impact on their lives moving forward.

Kudos to Mrs. Guilford for putting her heart and soul into this project for a second year and leading the RSG Kids towards leadership, creativity and the giving spirit generated by this project.  These RSG Kids really know what it means to LIVE UNITED!

In March 2016, Adams School Music Teacher, Sarah Guilford, and two of her previous students, Zoey and Brittanie, visited the Blessing Lauretta M Eno Child Care Center’s preschool class to present the children with copies of the book they published, “I Have the ABCs in My Hand”.