August 9, 2013

Mayor and Reading Seed Recruiting 500 Coaches to Improve Literacy

Mayor Rothschild speaks to the media about the need for more volunteer coaches for Reading Seed.

Mayor Rothschild speaks to the media about the need for more volunteer coaches for Reading Seed.

Tucson Mayor Jonathan Rothschild today launched a campaign to recruit an additional 500 reading coaches for Reading Seed, part of Literacy Connects.  That would double the number of tutors currently volunteering.

“Reading Seed is a program that works. It provides struggling readers in kindergarten through 3rd grade with volunteer reading coaches for one half-hour session a week during the school year, “ Rothschild said. “Test results show that struggling readers with a Reading Seed coach do better than struggling readers without this extra help.”

A new state law says third graders must read at grade level to advance.

Betty Stauffer of Literacy Connects says children with reading coaches learn faster than children who don't have the extra help.

Betty Stauffer of Literacy Connects says children with reading coaches learn faster than children who don’t have the extra help.

Research shows that children who don’t read well by third grade are more likely to remain poor readers in high school and are more likely to drop out of high school and develop other problems.

Reading Seed has committed to work closely with schools that serve low-income populations and children whose parents are working several jobs, or may have trouble reading themselves.

“Kids with Reading Seed coaches learn 36 percent faster than the kids who don’t have Reading Seed coaches,” said Betty Stauffer, executive director of Literacy Connects.

The program last year reached less than 2,000 people and Stauffer hopes the mayor’s appeal for coaches will double that amount in the next year.

Ellen Graver has been a reading coach since the late 1980s.

Ellen Graver has been a reading coach for two years.

Ellen Graver became a Reading Seed coach two years ago.

“Literacy has such a profound effect on a child’s functioning and life,” Graver said. “It’s our duty…to do everything we can to help our kids acquire these literacy skills.”

Literacy Connects.org lists the requirements to become a Reading Seed coach.

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