Reading is fundamental to a child’s academic success. Research shows that up until third grade, children are learning to read. After third grade however, they are reading to learn. From this point on, they’ll use these foundational reading skills to explore and master new subjects like science, history, and geography.
Research shows that disadvantaged kids start school two years behind their peers. Out of 50 children who are struggling with reading skills in kindergarten, 44 of them will still be struggling in 3rd grade. Furthermore, grades and absenteeism by 3rd grade can predict dropout rates with 90% accuracy. A high school graduate will earn on average 74% more over a lifetime, compared to a high school dropout.
Therefore, we must give our children the tools to:
- Start school ready to succeed
- Read proficiently in 3rd grade
- Make a successful transition to middle school
- Graduate from high school on time
- Be ready for success in college, work and life
In 2009 the graduation rate in all of Tippecanoe County was 84.2%
In the spring of 2010 71.6% of 3rd graders and 69.8% of 8th graders passed the ISTEP English/Language Arts assessment
74.5% of 8th graders passed the ISTEP Math test
63.8% of 6th graders passed the ISTEP Science test
Kindergarten Countdown is a free four-week summer camp. United Way, along with help from IU Health Arnett, piloted this program at Miller Elementary during the summer of 2011. This program is designed to prepare children with little to no preschool experience for their new roles as kindergarten students. The camp is taught by licensed, experienced teachers and takes place in a school setting. Students attend school for half a day and adjust to the routines and procedures of kindergarten in order to help them transition into school.
In 2012, 60 rising kindergarteners with little or no preschool experience attended camps at Miller and Klondike Elementary Schools. Early literacy testing showed dramatic increases while teachers reported additional gains in social and emotional skills needed to succeed in school. In 2013 180 students participated and the initial results are promising.
Read to Succeed
Read to Succeed is a community initiative led by United Way of Greater Lafayette, Greater Lafayette Commerce and local community school corporations designed to motivate our community to engage in our student’s academic success.
We know that early grade reading skills are a key factor for academic success and high school graduation rates. Poor reading ability in the early grades is clearly linked to high school dropouts. Students who are not proficient readers in the early grades do not typically catch up. In later grades, as coursework gets harder, reading becomes more challenging, and students have difficulty keeping up. This can lead to course failure, disengagement from school, and eventually dropping out.
This program gives the opportunity for community members to become directly involved in student achievement. Read to Succeed will support our children and our future workforce in being prepared to succeed after high school by placing priority on early grade reading.
Read to Succeed provides additional classroom support to increase literacy skills by providing community volunteers in local classrooms.
Read to Succeed launched with a pilot program in summer 2011 at Miller Elementary before rolling out in 75 classrooms at 5 schools with 250 volunteers during the 2011-2012 school year. The following school year, Read to Succeed provided over 400 volunteers in 11 local schools. We reached 3,800 children through the Read to Succeed program. This year, Read to Succeed is expanding to serve 15 local schools, and we hope to recruit over 500 volunteers!
Volunteers involved in Read to Succeed all share a common goal to increase the reading skills of the youth in our community. They do that by spending one hour a week in the classroom assisting the teacher in reading and educational activities. Volunteers are required to complete a background check, sign a volunteer contract, and attend training prior to immersion in the classroom.
Read to Succeed enjoys strong business support. Two recent videos demonstrate how deeply the business community is engaged: Henriott Group Leading Early Childhood Education Effort, and he one viewable below.