MINOT, ND – Minot Area Community Foundation and Souris Valley United Way each dedicated $25,600 to fund the local North Dakota Reading Corps program for the 2015 and 2016 school years through the Mid-Dakota Education Cooperative. Today Luke Schaefer, Executive Director MDEC, will give a report on the success of the program.
What is Reading Corps? Reading Corp helps kindergarten to third grade students who are struggling with reading confidence and comprehension. These students can perform well enough that they don’t qualify for Federal or State educational programs; they are below the standards for their grade level but are not failing. Reading Corps is a program of trained AmeriCorps volunteers that support local school districts by working one on one with these struggling readers. Reading Corps members tutor a struggling reader to become a proficient, confident reader.
Why Reading Corp? “The Nation’s Report Card” shown in 2011 indicated that only 34% of fourth graders read at a “proficient” level. Additionally, research shows that students not reading proficiently by grade three are four times more likely than proficient readers to drop out of high school (Hernandez, 2011) Reading Corps uses AmeriCorps members that have been specifically trained to help those less than proficient readers. “Reading proficiently by the 3rd grade is one of the single greatest predictors of school success.” - Patricia Smith, Executive Director Souris Valley United Way - “We are so thrilled to make a positive impact for these children by giving them the extra attention they need to learn and enjoy reading."
Who is a Reading Corp Tutor? Tutors commit to 10 months of AmeriCorps service and are parents, grandparents, recent college graduates, career professionals, and/or retirees who want to get more involved at school, explore a new career in education, give back to the community or re-enter the workforce. Prior to entering the school as a tutor they complete an application, interview, background check, and receive detailed training on research-based literacy practices. Reading Corp Tutors are eligible for an education award to be used towards qualified student loans, tuition, or if you are 55+ you may gift that award to a child/grandchild. These are people of all professions that are youth and community focused that want to make a difference through education. Please watch for information about becoming an AmeriCorps Reading tutor in the near future at NDMDEC.com
Local Reading Corp Success Story – One of the many Reading Corp success stories from around the state is Grace, a Reading Corp tutor at Edison Elementary. Since December, Grace has worked with nine students from Kindergarten to 3rd grade. In only 6 weeks the teachers have documented noticeable growth in reading ability and confidence of all 9 students. Further, three readers have accomplished their goal of reading at grade level. The school has already identified the next best candidates to fill those vacancies. “Knowing that these students can make so much growth in such a short amount of time is phenomenal,” - Luke Schaefer, Executive Director, MDEC. Both Edison Elementary and Sunnyside Elementary Schools in Minot are seeking tutors for the 2016-2017 school year. "Reading Corps tutors help an average of 25 students in a year. What an impact having three tutors next year can have."