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February 15, 2019

Reading Partners Needs the Participation of Citizens

Originally published by the Mayor of Tulsa, G. T. Bynum on Greater Tulsa Reporter

Here in Tulsa, we are living in exceptional times. We are working to make our city the best version of Tulsa it can be.

Often when I’m out in the community, I’m asked, “How can I help Tulsa?” One of the best ways to help is by getting involved in Reading Partners.

Many of our third graders are having a tough time learning to read. TPS is right at 50 percent for third-grade reading proficiency. We must do much better. Children who go through Reading Partners’ exceptional program have more than a 90 percent success rate. That’s significant because third-grade reading proficiency is one of the strongest indicators of whether someone will graduate from high school.

When I first took office, the City Council and I established that support for education is a priority for the city, and that improving high school graduation rates was a shared goal. We included this in our Strategic AIM Plan.

I’m pleased to say our city has already met its goals for high school graduation rate and per capita income. The graduation rate, for example, has improved from 73 percent to 76.9 percent, which exceeded the city’s goal. However, we still need to ensure our children excel in reading so they will graduate from high school.

That’s where Reading Partners comes in.

Last year in Tulsa, more than 1,500 students participated in the program and nearly 90 percent of them met literacy growth goals. Reading Partners’ volunteers give an hour a week, children do better in school, graduate from high school and go on to create a more law-abiding and educated workforce here in Tulsa. This is a long-term initiative for our city, but the kids who interact with their Reading Partner will see the impact immediately.

That’s why I’m asking you to consider helping Tulsa children succeed in school and life. Your participation in Reading Partners can empower a young student to gain the reading skills they need to become a proficient reader that will last a lifetime.

We need 500 volunteers to sign up before Feb. 28 to help Reading Partners serve 1,600 students this year.

So, please volunteer now through April 2019 to make an impact on a Tulsa student. You can sign up online at www.readingpartners.org or call 918-949-1979.

Please join me in this worthwhile endeavor to ensure our third graders succeed in reading as we continue to build a better city for the next generation and beyond.

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