LeAnne LeSage worked to help parents improve reading skills in young children
CHITTENDEN, VT – One of the most important ways one can ensure children’s reading skills is to read to them, starting in their youngest years. This apparently became more difficult for parents during the COVID-19 pandemic, as studies have shown literacy rates falling and fewer parents reading to children. Girl Scout LeAnne LeSage decided to address this issue with a public relations campaign and resources for parents, which has resulted in her earning the highest honor possible for a Girl Scout in high school, the Girl Scout Gold Award.
LeSage, formerly of Chittenden and now living in Florida, spent over 90 hours on her project, Informing Caregivers About Literacy Rates Post Pandemic.
“The Northwest Education Association found that literacy gains were significantly lower in the 2020 to 2021 school year. Additionally, the National Institute for Early Education Research at Rutgers found out that the rate of parents who read to preschool children dropped during the pandemic,” LeSage wrote in her project report. “Another issue is one of the mental health of children and parents during the pandemic and I believe that the drop in literacy is due to the fact that everyone was just overwhelmed during the pandemic.”
LeSage created a PSA for parents to understand the issue and an animated children’s video for children to explain the importance of reading from their point of view, which were posted to a YouTube channel, which can be found through searching for “Go Read, Go Gold.” She posted a huge variety of resources for parents on a website, a newsletter, and a database shared with Vermont libraries.
“Her relatable message for students to take charge of their own learning, with the research supported suggestion that only ten minutes a day can make a difference in reading success,” said Mary Alexander, LeSage’s project advisor. “(This) is in keeping with the Girl Scout tradition of empowering youth, especially girls. LeAnne's timely, well researched, and creative project is a stellar example of the valuable role (Girl Scouts) plays in the lives of thousands of girls.”
The hard work LeSage put in taught her that she can take on anything.
“I learned how to create something from the ground up,” she said. “I was a leader in creating Go Read Go Gold and with learning how to talk to people who were a lot older and had a lot more experience than me. I really learned about public relations and used leadership skills to work with a company that usually does not deal with teenagers (unless they are interns working at a large organization).”
Having relocated to Florida just as Hurricane Ian hit, her family situation is in flux, but LeSage said she is looking forward to settling down and getting connected to a community.
“I am thankful I was able to do my Gold Award and I am thankful for the technology that allowed me to connect with people BUT I am really longing to be with the same people in one community again,” she said.
“LeAnne is a very driven, bright, and talented young woman and I look forward to seeing what she does in life to impact this world in a positive way,” said Alexander.
LeAnne lived between Vermont and Florida until her family’s recent decision to stay in Florida. She enjoys tennis, ice skating, theater, reading, and writing. She is a homeschooled high school student and has already completed six college credits. LeAnne is a member of Mensa, Girl Scouts of the Green & White Mountains, and was also a “huddle leader” for the Vermont Fellowship of Christian Athletes. LeAnne has been a member of Girl Scouts since first grade and has been a Daisy, Brownie, Junior, Cadette, and is now a Senior.
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Gold Award Girl Scouts don’t just change the world for the better, they change it for good. The Gold Award is earned by girls in grades 9–12 who demonstrate extraordinary leadership in developing sustainable solutions to local, national, and global challenges. Since 1916, Girl Scouts have answered the call to drive lasting, impactful change. They earn college scholarships, demonstrate high educational and career outcomes, and are active in their communities.
LeAnne LeSage has answered the call to drive lasting, impactful change, and her Gold Award is a testament to her remarkable dedication to improving her community and the world.
About the Girl Scout Gold Award
- Gold Award Girl Scouts on average spend one to two years on their project.
- A Gold Award project must be sustainable after the girl’s involvement ends.
- The average age of Gold Award Girl Scouts is 17.
- Since 1916, more than 1 million girls have earned the Gold Award or its equivalent.
- Gold Award Girl Scouts are entitled to enlist at a higher pay grade when they join the military.
- University research indicates that noting you are a Gold Award Girl Scout on a college application is influential in the admissions decision-making process.
- Thirty young women from New Hampshire and Vermont earned their Gold Award in the 2021-2022 membership year as part of Girl Scouts of the Green and White Mountains.
- The Girl Scout Gold Award is the mark of the truly remarkable.
We Are Girl Scouts
Girl Scouts bring their dreams to life and work together to build a better world. Through programs from coast to coast, Girl Scouts of all backgrounds and abilities can be unapologetically themselves as they discover their strengths and rise to meet new challenges—whether they want to climb to the top of a tree or the top of their class, lace up their boots for a hike or advocate for climate justice, or make their first best friends. Backed by trusted adult volunteers, mentors, and millions of alums, Girl Scouts lead the way as they find their voices and make changes that affect the issues most important to them. To join us, volunteer, reconnect, or donate, visit girlscouts.org.
Girl Scouts of the Green and White Mountains serves girls throughout New Hampshire and Vermont through volunteer-run troops, events, and virtual programs. Visit www.girlscoutsgwm.org to learn more.