Monday, March 18, 2013

Ready2Read Program Looks for Community Support

Reading proficiency may be the biggest indicator of a student's success throughout their educational process and the biggest indicator in career success as an adult. The Louisville Municipal School District (LMSD) along with the PTO (Parent Teacher Organization) are working toward improving reading proficiency in
early readers. By promoting the Ready2Read program for first, second and third graders in the district, the intent is to improve reading skills by providing age-appropriate reading material.

The Ready2Read program provides magazine subscriptions for underprivileged and/or low income children during the summer. Linda Humphries, a concerned parent with PTO has done her homework on the need for improving reading skills. Research from the Annie E. Casey Foundation, Yale University, and the Social Science Research Center at MSU highlight that reading ability is a key factor in educational success and that poverty in the household and the neighborhood in general puts a child at risk to drop out before completing their education.

Humphries indicates that currently there are 618 students in the County in grades 1-3 who receive free or reduced lunches. This represents 80% of the student population on a countywide basis. Humphries indicated that during the summer, low income children can fall as much as two months behind their peers in tgheir reading skills. Poverty and low third-grade reading proficiency are both strong indicators that a student will have difficulty in graduating on time or will become a dropout. According to researchers at Yale University, up to half of the fourth grade curriculum is incomprehensible to students who read below that grade level. Three quarters of students who are poor readers in the third grade will remain poor readers in high school.

 According to a recent survey of 12,000 teens in the seventh grade, those students who are reading below their grade level are 2 ½ times more likely to have teen pregnancies.

 The Ready2Read program can put 5 to 6 magazines in a household over the summer months. The PTO is working with the school district to raise money to buy subscriptions for district children and is asking for community involvement. Special rates from National Geographic for Kids, Highlights, and Sports Illustrated for Kids have been obtained. The district determines children in need based upon free or reduced lunches and if sufficient funds are raised, subscriptions to two of these magazines will be provided to the household.

Donations may be made by check to LMSD and placing “PTO magazines” in the memo field. Donations may be left at the school central office or at your school’s principal's office.

There is also the “Buy a Brick for Winston County Literacy” program. Each brick is sold for a minimum donation of five dollars. Each paper brick can be purchased at the Winston County Library or at the Citizens Bank in Louisville.