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United Way’s Read To Suceed Program Results in Near-Perfect Readiness For Second Consecutive YearJuly 23, 2010
UNITED WAY’S READ TO SUCCEED PROGRAM RESULTS IN NEAR-PERFECT READINESS FOR SECOND CONSECUTIVE YEAR
NASHVILLE, TN, July 23, 2010—Although the first day of school is still nearly three weeks away, 185 new kindergarteners in some of Nashville’s toughest neighborhoods are ready to read.
For the second consecutive year, more than 98% of participants in United Way of Metropolitan Nashville’s Read to Succeed program enter kindergarten with the basic reading skills needed to make a successful scholastic start, Margaret Dolan, United Way’s Board Chair-elect, announced today.
Of third grade students enrolled in Metro schools, who participated in the Read to Succeed program, 75% tested ‘proficient or advanced’ in reading and language at the end of the most recently reported school year, with 66% scoring better than their peers. Dolan emphasized that children who begin kindergarten without basic reading skills are three to four times more likely to drop out before they graduate.
Read to Succeed is designed to help children develop and master critical pre-readying skills such as vocabulary, phonics, knowledge of the alphabet, and basic principles like understanding that you read a book from left to right and top to bottom.
United Way data indicates there are approximately 5,000 low-income preschool children in Davidson County, 1,100 of whom are enrolled in Read to Succeed. Experience has shown that many children from low-income families do not gain the proper skills prior to school, often because their parents lack a strong educational background themselves.
Through the Read to Succeed program, 80 specially-trained reading teachers equipped with age-appropriate books, writing materials and computers work with pre-schoolers for up to two years.
“If a child is ready to read when they enter kindergarten, their chances of finishing school and getting a job when they graduate from high school or college increase dramatically. When this happens, they have a far better chance to become one less drug, crime, prison or homeless statistic and one more success story in society,” Dolan said.
In the 2009-2010 school year, the Read to Succeed program expanded by 10% adding two new sites. United Way’s goal is to sustain all existing sites while opening two new sites every year in targeted communities in coming years.
Sites currently offering Read to Succeed:
- Bethlehem Centers of Nashville / North Nashville
- Eighteenth Avenue Family Enrichment Center / North Nashville
- Fannie Battle Day Home for Children / East Nashville
- First Steps Special Needs / Citywide
- Grace M. Eaton Childcare Center / North Nashville
- King’s Daughters Child Development Center / Madison
- Martha O’Bryan Center / East Nashville/Cayce Homes
- McNeilly Center/Nashville Child Center / East Nashville & Inglewood
- St. Luke’s Community Center / Northwest Nashville/Centennial Blvd
- St. Mary Villa/Lady of Guadalupe / West Nashville & Woodbine
- Wayne Reed Child Care Center / Lafayette Street/Napier Homes
More than 880 children have finished the program over the past 6 years. The program now operates 38 classrooms with an average of 20 children per classroom.
The results announcement was part of Stuff the Bus, United Way’s July Day of Action. More than 75 volunteers were on hand to sort and load school supplies for delivery to 48 United Way partner agencies. The school supplies will benefit children affected by the May Flood. Families who wish to take advantage of the school supplies can find the list of agencies on United Way’s website at http://www.unitedwaynashville.org/calendar/event/stuffthebusdelivery