There is nothing that compares to the look that comes over a child’s face when ‘the light bulb comes on.’ I have seen that look of pure joy in the face of a beginning reader when all of the sounds and letters he has been practicing finally come together and comprehension occurs. When a child realizes he or she is reading, the proud moment ranks up there with riding a bike on two wheels! This is a memorable moment for our students, which also brings a lot of joy to our Read to Succeed volunteers.
Read to Succeed and Read to Excel are literacy programs fostered by United Way of Southeast Missouri. Read to Succeed (R2S) has been serving students in kindergarten and 1st grade since it rolled out to all Cape Girardeau public elementary schools in 2012. Data indicate students who were involved in R2S when the program first launched have the highest reading proficiency of any K-6 cohort. All participants average a gain in reading proficiency of one and one-half years.
Read to Excel (R2X) is a new program funded through a DeltaCorps grant from the Delta Regional Authority. R2X serves 2nd, 3rd & 4th grade students at two elementary schools as well as 5th & 6th grade students at Central Middle School. R2X targets a select portion of students reading at roughly one grade level below their current grade to strengthen reading skills and bolster self-confidence. As with R2S, progress will be monitored throughout the program and measured by pre- and post-assessments.
As the R2S Program Manager, I am privileged to get to read with kiddos at all of the schools on a daily basis. There is no better feeling than to witness a child’s “ah-hah” moment. It gives you, as a volunteer, such a sense of pride and accomplishment. To be there to help celebrate with that child when they finally get it is like no other feeling. Knowing that you have helped a child further their reading skills, which in turn, will further their educational abilities, is so rewarding!
I highly encourage current volunteers to spread the word of the positive impact the program has, and I encourage those who have not yet worked with the program to volunteer today!
To learn more about volunteer times feel free to email Robin Koetting, Read to Succeed Program Manager, or contact our office at 573-334-9634.