United Way of Delaware County Adds Another School to Reading Club Program

Howells make learning fun!Howells make learning fun! Photo provided.

By: Kelsey Crist—

United Way of Delaware County announced adding another school to its Reading Club program. United Way of Delaware County will be returning to Longfellow and Sutton Elementary in addition to taking Reading Club to Wes-Del Elementary.

Reading ability by the 3rd grade is one of the single greatest predictors of school success. United Way of Delaware County’s initiative to helping children read at grade-level has brought about a passion for children’s success and learning. United Way is the proud sponsor of Campaign for Grade-Level Reading which is aimed at helping raise children’s literacy rates.

United Way of Delaware County has chosen to work with children in the 3rd grade because 3rd grade is when students transition from learning how to read into reading to learn. As they must rely in reading skills to understand lessons, those who aren’t proficient readers have a tough time. This can seem like an insurmountable challenge to children who can barely sound out the words in front of them. It is at this juncture that low-performing students experience incredible difficulty keeping up, and it is not uncommon for those students to fall further behind without some form of intervention.

Joe Clemmer, Coordinator for United Ways work for Campaign for Grade-Level Reading, said “Data shows that reading ability by 3rd grade is such an indicator of high school success that some states even determine their prison capacities based on 3rd grade reading scores. Therefore, it is more important now than ever to ensure that our children are reading at grade-level by the third grade.”

Kids reading. Photo provided

Kids reading. Photo provided.

United Way of Delaware County is helping at-risk readers improve their reading levels through Reading Club. Through this after school program 3rd graders have the opportunity to work in a smaller, more engaging setting with a pair of adult volunteers. Reading Club students participate in the program one day a week for one hour throughout their third grade year. There are approximately 60 students participating in the program this year and about 25 volunteers. As a result, students can get the attention they need and learn to enjoy reading.

United Way of Delaware County is taking a comprehensive approach with the Campaign for Grade-Level Reading. United Way not only funds this program, but is also very involved with the program itself. “United Way of Delaware County is a backbone organization for this work; “ explained Jenni Marsh President & CEO of United Way of Delaware County. “This means we’re building a coalition of organizations that in some way touch reading proficiency. These stakeholders are establishing a shared goal, a vision for how to achieve it, and identifying how we will measure progress for collective impact.”

If you or someone you know is interested in becoming a volunteer contact Joe Clemmer, AmeriCorps VISTA, at United Way of Delaware County via email: jclemmer@uwdcin.org or call 288-5586.

United Way of Delaware County, Indiana engages the community to improve lives by focusing resources on Education, Income and Health.

Kelsey Crist is with the United Way of Delaware County