Read To Succeed Asheville/Buncombe was created in 2009 through the collaboration of community activists and the Asheville Housing Authority. Inspired by the conviction that closing the achievement gap in our local schools would have long-term positive impacts on the economic and social fabric of our community, this partnership aimed at increasing the number of elementary school children who are reading proficiently by the end of third grade.
The program’s mission and goals are based on data indicating that for some groups of Asheville children only 25% to 40% are at reading level by the third grade. This makes them much more likely to drop out and puts them at considerable risk for the serious life-long impact of illiteracy.
The first Read To Succeed project was established at Ira B. Jones Elementary School in the spring semester of 2010 and a second school, Claxton Elementary, was added in the spring of 2011. By 2015 Read To Succeed volunteers were tutoring students in all Asheville City elementary schools.
In September 2016 we expanded our program into the Buncombe County School District, and now have trained volunteers tutoring children in 6 Buncombe County elementary schools.
Our partner schools provide tutoring space and project support; literacy specialists, teachers and principals work closely with R2S to insure the best possible matches between R2S volunteers and students.
Since our inception we have served nearly 500 students. In 2019 we increased the number of students tutored during that academic year to 203, and gain of 40% over the prior year.
The Read To Succeed staff includes approximately 200 volunteers, a part-time Executive Director, a full-time Program and Training Director and Program Assistant and a part-time Trainer. Our volunteer tutors undergo comprehensive training and ongoing workshops throughout the school year and summer. They are encouraged to build positive nurturing relationships with their students in the belief that these connections will increase children’s motivation to learn as well as their self-esteem that flows from greater academic confidence.