The following article was originally published in spring 2016, by the Dunham Fund. We are grateful to Dunham Fund for allowing us to share their video, and we encourage you to to see their original post and learn more about them.
We are sharing this video because WRF and our partners are leaders in the Arkansas Campaign for Grade-Level Reading. It is essential for us to look to leaders across the US who are committed to improving education achievement for all students. As such, we continuously lift up and support implementation of best practices that increase the number of Arkansas students reading at grade level by the end of third grade.
For the past 13 years, Friends of Aurora’s After School Programs has assisted children in Aurora elementary schools to read at or above grade level by the time they enter third grade. Janet Momper, the program’s founder, cites statistics showing that children who don’t read at this level are 74 percent less likely to catch up in later years, diminishing their chance to achieve future success in high school or beyond.
Volunteer reading mentors work with children in the school libraries for 25 weeks after school and in the summer. 85 percent of the program participants read at or above grade level by the end of second grade. 5,074 students have participated since the program’s inception.
Dunham Fund began supporting the reading program in 2013 with a $100,000 grant and has renewed its support in 2015 with a $120,000 grant that targets second grade students who struggle to read or where English is their second language. This one-on-one program has successfully helped students to read in English who have come from countries as diverse as Mexico, Russia, Togo, Thailand, Burma, Afghanistan, and Sierra Leone.
Since 2003, Friends of Aurora’s After School Programs has provided reading mentors who have helped more than 5,000 students improve their reading skills to grade level or above.