November 18, 2016
Tulsa community leaders Rally for Reading
On November 10, Mayor-elect G.T. Bynum, Tulsa Public Schools Superintendent Dr. Deborah A. Gist, and Tulsa Public Schools Board President Dr. Lana Turner-Addison joined in a city-wide effort to significantly increase reading proficiency for Tulsa children. Mayor-elect Bynum pledged to be a Reading Partner volunteer and called upon 2,000 Tulsans to volunteer one hour per week with Reading Partners, a proven way to increase student reading proficiency.
Mayor-elect G.T. Bynum kicked off the event by sharing staggering statistics that demonstrate the urgent need for reading interventions for our students. Almost half of Tulsa students in the third grade are reading below grade level. With Tulsa Public Schools facing severe financial constraints, our students need community involvement now more than ever.
“How often do you get to change a child’s life with just one hour a week? I want to be first in line,” Bynum shared as he committed to become a reading partner and encouraged community members to join him.
Tulsa Public Schools Board Chair Dr. Lana Turner-Addison also plans to volunteer with Reading Partners. She explained, “You will go back feeling revived” after each session with a student.
Likening Tulsa’s literacy challenge to a towering mountain, Superintendent Dr. Deborah A. Gist explained, “It’s going to take all of us working together to climb this mountain.” With the recent defeat of State Question 779 on the Oklahoma ballot, teachers are especially in need of the support and encouragement of community members through Reading Partners.
Stepping up to the challenge on the financial front, Ben Stewart, George Kaiser Family Foundation program officer, announced that the Foundation will match contributions dollar for dollar up to $50,000 with the goal to sponsor six reading centers. Stewart explained they “believe that every child can realize America’s promise of equal opportunity if given the right start. The Foundation seeks to support opportunities that empower young children and have a profound impact on their educational development and well-being.”
Latasha Lucas, a volunteer reading partner at Key Elementary, explained how she could see her student grew in self-confidence as she progressed through the program. Because her student was discovering more of her own potential, she learned that she really could become successful in reading and in life.
The Rally for Reading event was packed with community members who are determined to see the Tulsa community thrive for generations to come. You can be a part of positively changing the trajectory of a child’s life by committing at least one hour a week with Reading Partners.
Register today at readingpartners.org/volunteer. Both you and your student will be so glad you did!
To see more coverage of Tulsa’s Rally for Reading, visit these news sources: