Firefighters Flash Light on Literacy

Asheville and Candler firefighters surprised Candler Elementary School students when they showed up with a huge ladder truck and a new reading program last week.

On March 1, the firefighters introduced their Flashing Light on Literacy program, a collaboration involving Asheville Fire Department (AFD) and local departments like Enka Candler Fire and Rescue. The personal growth challenge encourages third graders to grow their current reading level through the rest of the school year. They will formulate their own goals, conference with their teachers, write their goals down, and post them in their classrooms as daily reminders to keep working hard. All students who achieve their goals will earn a pizza party and small prizes from the fire department. The third grader who shows the most growth will earn a special ride in a firetruck.

“This helps them formulate their own goal and encourages personal responsibility and accountability for success,” said AFD and Life Safety Educator Jeremy Brooks. “We’re promoting literacy and also helping kids learn about fire safety.”

Mr. Brooks and other AFD firefighters handed light-up bracelets to each third-grade class, extended the truck’s 107-foot-high ladder over the Candler Elementary bus parking lot, and led the classes on tours of the truck’s equipment. Excited students asked lots of questions and looked up in awe as the ladder descended back to the truck.

“This is a bit of a pilot program, and if we see a lot of success, we’ll want to expand the program to other schools,” Mr. Brooks said.