After putting out the call for volunteers, “Reading Buddies” have begun to help students in several elementary schools in the Columbus City Schools.
Columbus City School’s created a new reading-help initiative in response to the state’s Third Grade Reading Guarantee.”
According to the Ohio Department of Education, Ohio's Third Grade Reading Guarantee is a program to identify students behind in reading from kindergarten through third grade.
Third-graders who don’t pass the state standardized reading test can be held back.
Many Columbus City Schools elementary students don’t read at grade level.
The district asked businesses and community groups to adopt a Columbus school and provide buddies to work with selected students.
10TV was there for the first day of the program at Starling K-8 school on the city’s west side.
In weekly 20-minutes sessions Reading Buddies will read assigned books with a student, discuss the books and, ultimately, encourage them to take extra books home to read.
"That's the key in making sure students are good readers: getting them to read and enjoy reading and having an adult read with them,” said Principal William Doermann.
Doermann says he is excited about the possibilities.
“In general, we need a lot of work with our third-graders in reading,” said Doermann “But they have a desire to learn and they have a strong literacy capacity.”
The volunteers who came to Starling say they see the challenges but are excited to overcome them.
“It would be nice to read all the way through a book. One of the kids didn't get all the way through it, but I am hoping we can next week and maybe even read some more advance books,” said volunteer Elliot Mork
Doermann says they will be able to measure if they've met their goal by the third-graders’ scores on their reading tests.
The district says it would like to have the Reading Buddies program in all 73 of its elementary schools.
Volunteers must undergo criminal background checks, and Reading Buddies will be trained in how to lead a three-part lesson that includes reading assigned books with a student and discussing it; reading poetry; and sharing take-home books.
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