Help RPS 205 students by joining I READ

Dr. Ben Carson told a standing room only crowd in Rockford that his mother expected her children to read two library books a week. What the prominent neurosurgeon didn’t learn until later in life was that his mother couldn’t read. Like all good parents, she wanted her children to do better than she did.

Reading is so central to success in school and in life. Fortunately, the Rockford Public Schools has partners in our goal for all students to read at or above grade level. For four I Read file photo 2011days this week, 160 community volunteers were trained as IREAD volunteers at the RPS 205 Administration Building. I READ is a program of the United Way of Rock River Valley that pairs reading mentors with students. Volunteers are asked to commit to follow a child from kindergarten through third grade. Research shows that students who can read at or above grade level in the third grade have higher rates of graduation than those that don’t. These students are also much more likely to stay at or above grade level. As the University of Chicago’s policy research shows:

Reading represents the major foundational skill for school-based learning, and reading ability is strongly related to opportunities for academic and vocational success. A critical transition takes place during elementary school—from learning to read up to third grade to reading to learn in fourth grade. Students who are not reading at grade level in third grade begin having difficulty comprehending the written material that is a central part of the educational process in the grades that follow.

The I READ training this week was led by Sidney Graves, RPS 205 Dean of Elementary Literacy. Our Parent and Community Engagement Department also offers support for the program, including helping at open houses this month where volunteers can learn the layout of the schools, where to sign in and out and where the tutoring room is. These may sound like small things, but the point is to create an atmosphere where the whole focus is on the student.

This year the I READ program will be at Lathrop, Whitehead, King, Beyer, Hillman, Lewis Lemon, West View, Ellis and Kishwaukee (the last two schools were added this year). Harlem School District also participates in I READ.

The program does not begin until the week of Sept. 29, so there’s still time to sign up. Go to wevolunteer.org and take the first step to help a child read.

Mary Kaull is communications coordinator at the Rockford Public Schools. Contact her at mary.kaull@rps205.com. Like the district on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.



1 Comment

  1. Cathy Adams

    I tried to put a comment on the rps message and it would not allow me to do it. I am very involved with I-Read and it is such a worthwhile program. The rewards are unbelievable. All it takes it is an hour a week and there is nothing better to do with your time.

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