The Love 4 Reading

During the 2005-2006 school year a team of fourth and fifth grade students enrolled at La Union Elementary School in the Gadsden Independent School District competed in the International Future Problem Solving Competition. Students wanted their peers to enjoy reading at an early age. So they conducted a community literacy initiative entitled The Love 4 Reading. They thought if every third-grade student in the state received a book written by a New Mexico author, it would motivate them to read. The students developed a process to select a short list of books. From this list, Governor Richardson made the final selection based upon statewide interest and readability for third-grade students.

The students won the state Future Problem Solving Competition on April 8, 2006. They competed with more than 2,000 students in the International Competition in Ft. Collins, Colorado where they won fourth place. Read a brief summary of the project below.



The students at La Union Elementary are concerned about their peers who do not like to read. They want students to enjoy reading at an early age. They decided that if they could provide every third grade student in the state with a book written by a New Mexico author that they might be motivated to read. The author could serve as a role model for all New Mexico students.


  • They began the project by doing research on New Mexico authors. They found about forty, developed a rubric or score sheet for evaluating the books, evaluated all forty and narrowed the selection to fifteen.
  • They contacted a group of adults who were representative of the sate and invited them to be a part of the selection committee. They provide each member a set of the fifteen books and asked them to rate them on a rubric.
  • They tallied the results and narrowed the field to six books.
  • The students know the Governor and Mrs. Richardson are also very concerned about literacy in New Mexico. They invited the Governor to make the final decision. Governor Richardson chose The Santero’s Miracle by Rudolfo Anaya. The governor wrote a message and selected a picture to be printed inside each copy of the book. The books will be distributed to each New Mexico third grade student in the early fall. The book will be accompanied by a web-based teacher curriculum and a paper copy of a parent curriculum that will each be tied to the NM

Curriculum Standards. This process was modeled on a similar initiative by Governor Napolitano in Arizona.


The estimated cost of publication should be between around $72,500. The price of printing the books is approximately $2.90 per copy and there are 25,000 third grade students. All corporate sponsors will be noted on the inside cover of the books.


The book should be ready for distribution by early fall. The students would like to announce distribution of the project in a joint press conference of Rudolfo Anaya, Governor Richardson, and all sponsors.

Statewide Committee Members

Dr. Carmen Gonzales, NMSU Vice President for Student Success

Irene Oliver-Lewis, Arts Magnet Charter High School- Las Cruces

Claire Odenheim, New Mexico farm and ranch Museum Librarian- Las Cruces

Pamela Herman, Research Analyst, LESC-Santa Fe

Carlotta Penny Bird, Indian Education, PED- Santa Fe

Linda Barnett, Artesia Middle School Librarian- Artesia

Cynthia Nava, NM State Senate- Assoc. Superintendent of Gadsden Schools- Gadsden

Ann Steinhoff, Dir. of Federal programs, International Reading Assoc.-Gadsden

Sandra Tutor, Principal, La Union Elem., State Director of Future Problem Solving- Gadsden