Why is Reading Important?
Literacy is the foundation of all successful learning. Research shows that third grade reading proficiency is the strongest predictor of high school graduation and career success. Unfortunately, every year a disproportionate number of low income children miss this crucial milestone. This one factor, the ability to read proficiently at the end of third grade, has long term implications for individuals and for our community. Students who can’t read at grade level at the end of 3rd grade are four times more likely to drop out before they graduate.
The Readers Are Leaders tutoring program, a United Way of Kenosha County led initiative in collaboration with Kenosha Unified School District, local businesses and community members, utilizing data provided by Building Our Future, provides young children in grades kindergarten through third grade with tutors on a regular basis to increase reading achievement in the early grades.
In just one hour per week, Readers Are Leaders volunteers are helping students become more confident and capable readers.
Tutoring takes place during school hours, September/October through May.
Classroom teachers and school site coordinators at the Readers Are Leaders schools recommend students to participate in the Readers Are Leaders program.
Recommended students are those approaching grade level reading proficiency, and are very likely to increase reading skills with the extra support and encouragement that the Readers Are Leaders tutors provide.
The goal of the program is for selected students to become more confident and capable independent readers. That goal is achievable because of the many dedicated volunteer tutors in our community who have stepped forward to spend time reading with students.
The Readers Are Leaders Program began as a three year pilot program at McKinley Elementary during the 2014-15, 2015-2016, and 2017-18 school years with an average of 65 tutors working with 45 students.
During the 2018-2019 school year, the tutoring program expanded to three additional Kenosha Unified Elementary Schools: Brass, Forest Park and Wilson. 262 dedicated community members volunteered to serve as tutors for 193 students at those schools. Throughout the year students collectively went up 764 reading levels as a result of the 4,716 hours volunteers spent working with students.
Since the tutoring program began, volunteers have given more than 7.500 hours to the students.
Students benefit from participation in the Readers Are Leaders program. The program helps students get the skills they need to succeed as students and beyond.
See what some of our students and tutors have to say about their experience:
Volunteers get results! We know that service and volunteerism work. We believe that everyone has a part to play in closing the achievement gap in Kenosha County. We believe that collaborative efforts create unlimited potential for students and our community. Readers Are Leaders tutors have varied experience, ranging from college students, to stay at home caregivers, to retirees. No previous experience is needed. All the training and resources you need to be successful will be provided.
Recruitment for the 2021-22 school year will begin in September 2021. Stay tuned for more information.
Kindergarten student tutor recruitment will begin in the winter of 2021.
What Can You Do To Help?
Donations are currently being sought to help continue and expand the Readers Are Leaders Tutoring program in Kenosha County. As a nonprofit organization, we rely on local businesses and community donors to help us make a strong impact in our community.
An investment in United Way of Kenosha County's Readers Are Leaders Tutoring Program helps us to reach young children to help set them up for a path to success. Help our children be our future. Thank you for taking this opportunity into consideration.
Please contact United Way of Kenosha County at email@example.com or call 262-658-4104 for questions.