Community Work




Boy's Eyes

Read to Succeed

In 2014, 97% of children participating in Read to Succeed, a United Way early literacy initiative, had the necessary skills to succeed in kindergarten. Why is this so important?

  • Children who have not developed some basic literacy skills by the time they enter school are 3 - 4 times more likely to drop out in later years
  • 85% of all juveniles who interface with the court system are functionally illiterate
  • 90% of welfare recipients are high school dropouts

By teaching these at-risk children early literacy skills they otherwise wouldn’t have, they have a greater chance to succeed in school and a lesser chance of getting into trouble. The Read to Succeed program currently reaches 1,200 children a year. Every $1 invested returns $17 into the community over the long term. This long term savings is seen as the children grow into adulthood and results in reduced criminal justice costs, higher taxes paid, and reduced health care. 

In 2004, when Read to Succeed was expanded into pre-school programs, the percentage of five-year-olds ready for school was 33%. At the end of the 2013-2014 school year, that percentage almost tripled to 97%. Read to Succeed helps children develop and master critical pre-reading skills such as:

  • Oral language (vocabulary)
  • Phonological awareness (beginning sounds, rhyming, sound-letter correlations)
  • Print awareness (parts of a book, reading left to right, top to bottom, etc.)
  • Alphabet knowledge (at least 10 letters of the alphabet prior to kindergarten)

Studies have shown that if a child is ready to learn to read by the time he enters kindergarten he is more likely to be reading at, or above, grade level in the third grade. This is a critical academic milestone, because at this point children are no longer simply learning to read, they are reading to learn.

Sites currently offering Read to Succeed:

  • Eighteenth Avenue Family Enrichment Center
  • Fannie Battle Day Home for Children
  • First Steps, Inc.
  • Grace M. Eaton Childcare Center
  • King’s Daughters Child Development Center
  • Martha O’Bryan Early Learning Center
  • McNeilly Center for Children
  • MNPS (Maxwell Elementary & Napier Elementary)
  • St. Luke’s Community House
  • St. Mary Villa
  • Wayne Reed Christian Childcare Center
Read To Succeed : Harold

Read To Succeed : Harold

United Way’s early learning program, Read to Succeed, has a 99.4% success rate in ensuring that pre-schoolers get the right…
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