This fall a United Way of Southeast Missouri reading initiative will expand to all of the elementary schools in the Cape Girardeau School District thanks to a $107,900 grant from AmeriCorps.
Read to Succeed, a volunteer-run program that focuses on improving elementary students' reading skills, has seen significant results in recent years. Monique Johnson, Alma Schrader's volunteer coordinator, said the school's first-grade students averaged 1.3 years of improvement in grade-level reading last year. She also noted that at Blanchard Elementary, 88 percent of kindergartners finished the school year above grade level.
Reading is seminal to the academic studies of students. The program's volunteers and organizers are making a difference, and we look forward to continued progress in the years to come.
It's great news that the program is expanding, but with this expansion comes the need for more volunteers. In addition to the 150 volunteers already participating, about 200 additional people are needed to cover all the sessions. For those who cover multiple sessions each week there are some paid positions and education stipends available. While the grant doesn't cover the reading program in Jackson, volunteers are needed there as well.
Thank you to all those who are already volunteering with this program. If you are not volunteering, we encourage you to consider doing so.
For more information, call the United Way at 334-9634.