READING CORPS FAQQ. Do Arlington students really have a problem with reading?A. Yes, we have a number of children in our community who do not read ongrade level at the end of 3rd grade, as well as additional children who mayreach the standard, but never progress after 3rd grade to the “reading tolearn” stage because reading is such an unpleasant struggle for them.According to 2010-11 TAKS data, 14% of 3rd graders attending AISD and 7%attending MISD did not meet standards for basic 3rd grade reading skills. Withinthe population of 3rd graders who are classified as “Economically Disadvantaged,”18% (AISD) and 13% (MISD) did not meet standards. This represents over 8003rd grade students who obviously struggle with the most basic of skills and are athigh risk to drop out of school in the future. Q. Aren’t trained teachers supposed to teach reading? I’m an engineer [artist,customer service representative, college student, police officer, etc.], how can Ipossibly have any impact on a child’s reading skills?A. According to researchers at the Center for the Study of Reading, thesingle most important activity for building the knowledge required foreventual success in reading is reading aloud to children. More and morestudies are showing that simply reading aloud and engaging in enjoyable readingand writing activities one on one with a tutor can be an effective way of increasingskills. These positive results have been proven by the researchers evaluatingprograms such as the statewide Reading Corps programs in Minnesota and Washington, as well as through the nonprofitReading Partners programs founded in San Francisco and now spread to other locations, including Dallas.Further reading:Becoming a Nation of Readers: The Repor t of the Commission on Reading. http://eric.ed.gov/PDFS/ED253865.pdfMinnesota Reading Corps Final Evaluation Reports http://minnesotareadingcorps.org/about/evaluation-reportsThe Research Case for the United Way Education Volunteer Call to Action: Recruiting One Million Volunteer readers, Tutors an d Mentors,March 2011 http://www.unitedway.org/page/-/documents/volunteer/Making% 20the% 20Case% 20for% 20Readers,% 20Tutors% 20and% 20Mentor s.pdfQ. Why is it so important to work with Pre-K through 3rd grade students?A. Educators say that during first few grades of school students are learning to read, but after fourth grade, they’rereading to learn. Without strong reading skills, they fall behind, become frustrated often eventually drop out of school.Further reading:Early Warning! Why Reading by the End of Third Grade Matters: A KIDS COUNT Special Repor t from the Annie E. Casey Foundation .http://www.aecf.org/~/media/Pubs/Initiatives/KIDS% 20COUNT/123/2010KCSpecReport/Special% 20Report% 20Executive% 20Summary.pdfQ. What kind of difference is Reading Corps expected to make in Arlington? How are you going to communicate this?A. In the first year, our goal is to significantly increase the reading skills of 500 students. At the end of the first threeyears of the program, we hope to see the number of students not meeting standards (according to the STAAR assessment)begin to fall and to see the number of students achieving at a higher-level increase as well. Our ability to make a differencedepends on the successful recruitment of volunteers—the more volunteers we have, the greater the impact! ArlingtonReads staff will track and report on progress of Reading Corps participants at the end of each year in an annual report.
Q. What kind of training and support will I receive to make sure I’m doing the right things?A. Volunteers are required to attend a 2 hour training session before being matched to a reading partner. This trainingprovides volunteers with information on best practices in reading and writing with children. Further enrichment opportunities willalso be available year round.Q. What exactly will I be expected to do with my student?A. Reading Corps sessions will generally be divided into two main components, large group time (where applicable)and individual reading time. Volunteers will rotate leading the group read aloud and then students will participate in a groupactivity related to the read aloud book for the day. Volunteers and students will then transition to on-on-one reading sessions.Volunteers will engage their reading partner in on or two books selected by the students and will then complete a writing activityabout one of the books.Further reading:Tips for volunteer readers: http://unitedforimpact.org/uploads/ways- to-engage/Tips_for_Volunteer_Readers.pdfQ. How will I know that I am doing a good job?A. Reading Corps students are required to submit beginning of the year, mid -year and end of year assessments fromtheir school. Volunteers see growth throughout the year on these assessments. Volunteers will also complete informalassessments each time they meet with their student by observing development in the student’s oral language, writing skills,social/emotional interaction and reading ability and attitude toward reading.Q. Where will I get books? How will I know what to read?A. Volunteers are encouraged to select from a wide variety of picture books and both fiction and nonfiction for youngreaders in the Arlington Public Library collection. Library staff will supply reading lists to volunteers based on reading abilityand interests. Librarians are always available to consult with RC volunteers to select books that match both the individualinterests of students.Q. I can commit to the 16-week period, but what if I get sick, or can’t get away from work once or twice?A. Since each student has two reading sessions per week, a volunteer can choose to be paired with another volunteerand they may “share” a student. Within that structure, if one volunteer is absent for one session, the other volunteer may fillin. This will ensure consistency and make the students feel more comfortable. Co-workers or friends are encouraged to “pair-up” to work with a child.Q. My child is struggling with reading, how do I get them into this program?A. Library staff will work with local school districts and community organizations to add 15 Reading Corps (RC) siteseach year, with the goal to have 45 sites at the end of three years. Some of the sites are schools or pre-schools and someare after school program providers such as the Boys & Girls Clubs of Arlington or the Salvation Army. If your child attendsschool at a RC site, you are encouraged to talk with your child’s teacher to arrange participation. If your child’s school i s not aRC site, you may want to explore their attendance at an afterschool program that works with the Reading Corps program. For alist of Reading Corps sites, visit: http://www.arlingtonlibrary.org/ReadingCorps