For the majority of children, kindergarten through third grade is a time to learn reading. Students receive various methods of instruction in the expectation that most will acquire the basic skills during this period. Some students, however, do not learn at the same rate as the majority of their peers, and some fail to learn to read by third grade.
This is a critical time, because in third grade, reading becomes essential to achievement in other academic areas. Students who have failed to learn reading by this time begin struggle in other subjects, and the situation becomes worse at every grade level.
A lack of reading skills carries over into serious impairments in adulthood. Two thirds of students who struggle with reading by the end of fourth grade will spend time in jail or on welfare. Teenage girls with low literacy skills are far more likely to have out of wedlock children than those with good reading skills, and adults with the lowest level of reading skills are more than ten times as likely to live in poverty than those with the highest level of reading skills. Poor literacy skills are also associated with higher dependence upon food stamps and more frequent and more serious criminal activities ( source ). Clearly, reading is essential to success in school and in adult life.
When classroom time does not fulfill a student's learning needs, they need further support. Communities in Schools of Jacksonville provides this support for many students through the Duval Reads literacy program. Tutors work intensively with students in grades K9, both one on one and in small groups, to raise students’ reading comprehension by at least one letter grade. The program has been in place since 1999 and has worked with more than 7,500 children.
Because the Jacksonville area has such a large military population, another of our literacy initiatives is The DREAM Project, which involves active duty military personnel and veterans as mentors and tutors for military dependent students. (DREAM stands for Duval Reads Engaging America’s Military .) The program has two main objectives: improving the children’s overall lives through literacy and mentoring; and creating connections with other individuals in the area’s military community to improve the Jacksonville area through service to the wider community.
Tutors from Communities In Schools of Jacksonville work closely with students to show personal interest and provide the intensive instruction that some children need to overcome specific learning hurdles. Site coordinators at each school may also be involved to resolve other issues that interfere with the child’s learning and success: for example, making sure they have a quiet place to study, are receiving adequate food and health care, and have a safe home environment.
Communities In Schools has shown a remarkable success rate in helping students with literacy and other school related struggles. Of the students helped, 99% stay in school, 93% continue on to the next grade level, 93% graduate, and 85% meet academic improvement goals.
If your child needs help learning to read in the Jacksonville area, contact Communities In
Schools of Jacksonville . If you would like to provide financial support or volunteer your time,
contact us here .
# # #