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December 13, 2016

Volunteers can help teach all Fort Worth kids to read by third grade

Originally published by the Star-Telegram.
By Robert Rogers

Would you like to change Fort Worth for the better, with an effect that will last for decades?

Do you wonder how to most efficiently use your precious time as a volunteer?

I have a suggestion for you: teach a child to read. It’s fun, it’s deeply rewarding, and you can do it — with a little support.

Fort Worth will change dramatically for the better if its residents fulfill the promise that every child in our schools will be reading at grade level by the end of third grade.

Mayor Betsy Price, Fort Worth school district Superintendent Kent Scribner and Fort Worth Literacy Partnership leader Matt Rose announced the “100X25” initiative earlier this fall, with the target of 100 percent of our third graders reading at grade level by 2025.

No other goal is more important, and none of our other educational goals can be attained without successfully achieving this one.

Reading at grade level by third grade is essential, since it is at this age children convert from learning to read to reading to learn.

Reading at grade level by the end of third grade is the best predictor of successful graduation from high school.

Children who are not reading proficiently at this stage are four times more likely to drop out of school compared to those who are reading well.

Guaranteeing that all children in our schools can read at grade level by third grade is, without doubt, an achievable goal — but it will become a reality only with the assistance of the entire community.

The teachers in our schools are working very hard, but they do not have the manpower to reach this goal on their own.

Individual one-on-one tutoring is the most successful method to help students learn to read, thus providing a great opportunity for community volunteers.

You don’t need to be a reading expert. If you can commit to one hour per week, you can teach a child to read.

Reading Partners will show you how and will support you along the way.

Reading Partners is a not-for-profit organization designed to support volunteer reading tutors. Its curriculum is well-designed, easy to follow and has been rigorously tested to prove its effectiveness.

The training and support provided by the Reading Partners staff are wonderful. I am in my second year as a Reading Partners tutor, and my students have made great progress.

This program works, and it is fun for both the student and the tutor.

Fellow Fort Worth residents, there are children in need of your help right now.

This isn’t complicated. None of us want children to fail in school, and we definitely do not want to pay for the consequences of poorly educated adults.

Volunteer one hour per week and change the trajectory of a child’s life.

If you cannot volunteer, you can support this worthy organization with a donation.

Search “Reading Partners North Texas,” click the “volunteer” button, and join the team!

Robert Rogers is a local physician and early education advocate.

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