Reading Partners Facebook page

Teach a child to read and you feed him for a lifetime

by Author Name | Original pub date

If you spent your childhood with your nose in a book and became an adult who can’t leave home without your Kindle, you know the purpose and the pleasures of reading. It’s not a skill that comes easily to every child, however. In fact, only 30 percent of fourth-grade students in Texas were reading proficient in 2019, according to the National Assessment of Educational Progress.

“Lack of proficient literacy and early learning skills has far-reaching consequences for students and society,” according to The Reading Foundation. But with time and practice, everyone can become a good reader. Since 2012, Reading Partners has been helping low-income students in Dallas and Fort Worth ISDs become better readers — and you can help.

“Reading Partners has a simple concept with extraordinary results. Together with our schools, Reading Partners focuses on students who are behind in reading in grades kindergarten through third grade. We harness the power of community volunteers to provide individualized instruction to help students master the reading fundamentals they need to reach grade level,” Executive Director Lisa Bracken said in an interview last year.

For 2020, Reading Partners is aiming for just over 1,000 volunteers in DFW.

It’s easy to get involved, and even teens can do it. You just need to be 14 years or older and able to commit to at least one hour per week tutoring a child. First, register online and choose a school site — North Texas has many locations. Then attend an orientation and pass a background check. After that, you’ll be matched with a student and you can begin helping a boy or girl become a better reader. And don’t worry: You’re not asked to make it up as you go along. Tutors follow a structured, proven, easy-to-use curriculum designed to help students build confidence and make big gains.

The ideal for eliminating illiteracy, according to The Reading Foundation, is for communities to adopt a 90 percent reading goal, which means 90 percent of third graders will read at or above grade level by the end of the school year. The consequences of illiteracy for an individual are lower income, lower self-esteem, and a life of struggle and misunderstanding. For society, it’s a weaker workforce and a population with a lower level of community involvement and civic participation. In other words, everyone benefits when a child learns to read. 

If you’re not sure about tutoring but still want to help, host a book drive or even just give books your own children have outgrown to the program, which helps kids build their own libraries at home.

Share This