Asheville Citizen Times
August 18, 2012
Read what a few of the Read to Succeed tutors had to say about their elementary school students at the end of the past academic year.
“By the end of the year, Ben [in 5th grade] has gone from end of third grade reading level to mid-fifth grade. He is still a half a year behind, but doing much better in his attitude toward reading and other subjects and is trying to reach higher goals. I will work with him over the summer to help him be ready before he enters Asheville Middle School.”
“In the beginning of the year, Ashley [in 1st grade] was a very hesitant reader. She knew her letters and sounds but did not understand how the sounds went together to make words. She loves to work with me—she brings me little presents. Ashley shows good progress; she’s already at grade level and I predict she’ll be ahead of grade level next year.” (These are not the children’s real names.)
Think these stories are exceptional? Not at all. At Ira B. Jones Elementary School, 13 Read to Succeed Reading Coaches worked year-long with 13 children. The results of this phonics education program were outstanding. All of these students started at least a year behind grade level in reading. By the end of the year, 2 were above grade level, 7 were at grade level, 2 were still below, and 2 have been moved to special education during the year. Altogether, the Read to Succeed Program succeeded in moving 70% to grade level in reading.
An Asheville Citizen Times (8/18/12) editorial recently pointed out that the unemployment rate in Buncombe County would be lower if our manufacturing companies could just fill the job openings that they have. They are not at full employment because we do not have a large enough pool of workers with advanced technical skills. Why not? Because our children are dropping out of school. A major reason why they are dropping out is that they are not proficient readers. If children cannot read proficiently by third grade, their chances of finishing school and going on to acquire technical skills diminish greatly. It doesn’t take rocket science to figure it out! This tragic causal chain can be broken if programs like Read to Succeed were available to all children who are challenged by reading as soon as they are identified, most often in Kindergarten.
Read to Succeed is now recruiting volunteers to be trained as Reading Coaches at Claxton Elementary School this fall. If you want to make an important contribution to the future of our community, please consider helping one child learn to read. Call Julie Sherman, 828-251-4949, or contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.