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May 3, 2013

DU SAAC Helping Reading Partners Colorado with Literacy Goals

DENVER – The University of Denver Division of Athletics and Recreations has partnered with Reading Partners Colorado to help students K-3 reach grade-level reading standards. The Student Athlete Advisory Committee (SAAC) has taken on the program as a key initiative with the goal of including every Pioneer team as a part of the effort.

“Having the opportunity to work with Reading Partners Denver has been beneficial not only to the children but also to the athletes involved,” said SAAC Executive Officer and volleyball student-athlete Faimie Kingsley (Brooklyn, NY).  “SAAC is always looking for an organization that the whole student-athlete community can be a part of and we could not have asked for a better organization than Reading Partners Denver. We are so excited to be working with them and cannot wait to see what the future entails.”

“Our Division could not be more proud of how SAAC has taken the lead on this important initiative,” said SAAC Advisor and Associate AD for Compliance and Student-Athlete Support Services Cynthia Rail. “This is a true win-win in every sense of the word. Our athletes clearly see the positive impact they are making by giving up limited time and the young students are making significant strides in their reading development.”

Reading Partners Colorado is a part of the national nonprofit that provides volunteer-led, one-on-one literacy tutoring at low-income elementary schools. Reading Partners nationally has an 89% success rate improving students’ reading skills. The Colorado branch currently focuses on grades K-3 at each school site with a dedicated space used as a reading center.  The non-profit recruits a corps of community volunteers who work directly with students and are trained and supported by site coordinators. DU student-athletes and all volunteers are taught to use a highly-structured and research-validated curriculum to work one-on-one with students in the program.

“The Reading Partners students and staff members are so excited to have the DU Athletics teams tutoring at the various locations,” said Reading Partners Colorado Executive Director Michael Turner.  “The athletes provide wonderful role-models for our students and have done an outstanding job helping our struggling readers improve their skills.  We are very excited about how much this partnership is bringing to our program.”

Currently in its first year of existence in Colorado, Reading Partners is providing twice-a-week literacy tutoring to more than 365 students with over 400 volunteers in seven partner schools. DU athletes from both women’s soccer and volleyball participated as tutors for larger groups of students with other Pioneers joining in for individual sessions.

“Having this opportunity was a great experience and working with kids is something I truly enjoy,” said volleyball middle blocker Brea Muhle (Columbus, Neb). “They were so eager to learn new things and read to you. When they get something right that smile on their face is the most rewarding thing and makes the experience that much more worth it.”

Photo links to Student-Athletes with Reading Partners kids:

About Reading Partners Colorado

Colorado suffers from an unequal balance of trade in terms of its talent. While the Rocky Mountain state ranks near the top in the number of residents with a college degree, it comes in nearly last in number of students who complete college. Nearly half of its residents with college degrees are transplants from other states. For every 10 students that graduate high school in Colorado, just two will go on to finish college.

To meet this challenge, Colorado’s Governor, Legislature, and Board of Education have set a goal to graduate all students from high school college-ready. Reading Partners is committed to helping Colorado reach this ambitious target. Reading Partners launched in Colorado in 2012 thanks to a $2.5 million grant from the Mile High United Way to help ensure more children are reading proficiently by third grade. These funds, granted to Reading Partners and only ten other programs, enabled us to open reading centers in seven Colorado schools—five in Denver and two in nearby Aurora. We intend to reach up to twenty schools by the 2013-14 school year.

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-Courtesy of Denver Athletics / Source

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