Kids Reading

A group of students have just started Creating Optimistic Outlooks on Learning (COOL), a new organization at Texas A&M University promoting child literacy.

COOL aims to help elementary students improve their reading and writing comprehension through mentorship and building long-lasting relationships. Working in partnership with grade schools in the Bryan-College Station area, COOL hopes to eventually help the community improve literacy rates in children for long-term success.

Electrical systems engineering technology junior and technical director of COOL, Jonathan Samuel, said the main focus of COOL’s mentorships will be on the third-grade students, as it is a pivotal age for reading comprehension.

“COOL is basically a club that mentors to third-grade students,” Samuel said. “The reading level at third grade is one of the most important metrics to determine a child’s success, so we are trying to go into this community and make sure that everyone’s reading level is at a good level and try to increase it as much as possible.”

With COVID-19 cases continuing to rise, COOL will not be interacting in person with students this semester. However, Samuel said they are doing as much as they can for the community and young students until they’re able to mentor in person. From building small, book sharing neighborhood libraries for children to creating free worksheets for parents to use with their children, COOL will continue working toward their mission, Samuel said.

Though the coronavirus has shifted COOL’s initial plans, members are still excited about what they’re doing, said communications senior and COOL Social Media Director Auva Saghafi.

“Because we are doing things differently than planned, there are a lot of opportunities for people to be able to help,” Saghafi said. “For example, we want to write notes to people in senior centers and to help high school seniors with college admissions and essays. There are a lot of different areas where people would be able to help their community, so I think there’s a place for everyone.”

Biology junior and COOL Director of Outreach Aakash Kothari said the organization strives to create a mentorship program that follows the young students throughout their time in primary school.

“The difference between our organization and other organizations is that we do not consider the activities that we do as short-termed,” Kothari said. “We consider them as long-term activities and, not only that, but we stick with the students from the time they enter the organization to the time they leave, so we are there with every step of the way, helping them grow as individuals and helping them see a future either at Texas A&M or at any other college.”

For more information on TAMU COOL, visit cooltamu.com.

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