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Education

Read to Succeed honors volunteers, plans expansion

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A literacy program in Tippecanoe County will double its reach in the fall.

Greater Lafayette Commerce and the United Way of Greater Lafayette organized the Read to Succeed effort last spring. It brings community volunteers into the classroom to help students in kindergarten through third grades at five area schools.

Gary Henriott chairs the education committee of Greater Lafayette Commerce. He says they’re planning to add five more schools this fall.

“We’re going from 250 volunteers to 500 volunteers, so that’s what the next few months are filled with. Of course, our plan is, for the fall of 2013, to expand to all 17 public elementary schools in the county. We have a lot of work ahead of us, but we’re looking forward to that.”

Those joining Read to Succeed in the fall are Woodland, Wyandotte, Klondike, Miami and Murdock schools.

A reception Monday honored the volunteers who spent at least an hour a week at either Burnett Creek, Cumberland, Glen Acres, Mayflower Mill or Miller elementary schools.

Purdue employee Kerry Blankenship helped at Burnett Creek this year. She worked with second graders on reading and spelling, in small groups and individually.

“Especially when I worked with individual students, I could see the gains that they made in reading, watch them express themselves more and be more comfortable. Yes, there were great gains.”

Blankenship says she would encourage anyone to learn more about becoming a volunteer. She says some would partner on the effort, so they could rotate each week in a classroom.

West Lafayette Community School Corporation Superintendent Rocky Killion thinks it’s always good when members of the community show an interest in helping schools.

“For us, it’s been a real help with our students who need a little more time on task, a little more exposure for reading opportunities, because we know that not all kids learn the same way or at the same rate. So, additional help is always appreciated.”

He says the extra time likely had a positive effect on those students who took the new state required reading assessment test. But he says that’s just one component of an overall effort by the school district to boost literacy.

For more information about Read to Succeed, including volunteer opportunities, click HERE.

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