Fort Huachuca and the Cochise County Superintendent of Schools are teaming up to help encourage students to find their passion for reading.

Garrison Commander John Ives and Superintendent Jacqui Clay are working with educators, businesses and parents to create a county-wide book club. The purpose is to increase the number of grade level appropriate books K through 12th grade students are reading. Ives said he hopes this program inspires kids to find their life-long passion for reading.

When we talk about dreaming big, we want people to look at us and say youre crazy,” Ives said “Ill tell you what I want is for every librarian in this countyto complain that everyone has checked out all the books and they need more books.

The book club will reward students based on the number of books they read. Right now, Clay and Ives are planting the idea with community leaders and educators to get feedback and find people to help lead the charge. As soon as they have a strong group of book club leaders they can launch the program across the county.

This is just the beginning of something thats going to be amazing,” Clay said. “This one little rock could put ripples in a whole bunch of people’s ponds.

Clay said 38% of third graders in Cochise County read at a third grade reading level which is lower than the state average. Ives and Clay say by improving that percentage, they will help improve the county’s education ratings. Clay said that from first to third grade, students are learning to read. From fourth grade to 12th grade, students are reading to learn.

Ives and Clay agree that as soon as they have people in place to help lead the book club they want to officially launch the program.