We all know that a quality education begins with reading. In fact, kids who read proficiently by third grade are more likely to graduate high school. Yet, only 36% of fourth-grade students in the United States are proficient (or better) in reading according to National Assessment of Educational Progress. It’s a troubling statistic, one that can have dire consequences on an individual’s success in school, work and life.
United Way of Greater Lafayette, in partnership with Community Commitment to Education and Tippecanoe County’s three school corporations, is working to help move the needle on third grade reading levels with Read to Succeed. Read to Succeed pairs a community volunteer with an area classroom teacher to work on reading and literacy activities. Volunteers commit to one hour per week. Volunteer activities may include reading aloud to a child or group of children, working on sight words and comprehension, or completing an Accelerated Reader book and test.
More than 70 businesses and organizations in Greater Lafayette have pledged support. All three school corpartions celebrated a 14.8 percent increase in the number of students who passed the IREAD-3 test, which is Indiana's state assessment of reading ability in third grade. The impact we are seeing goes well beyond reading pages of a book. Schools are seeing better behavior and attendance from classrooms who host a volunteer. Children receive one-on-one adult interactions and mentorships that they may not otherwise have. The possibilities are endless.