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January 14, 2014

New Program Helps Children Read

Students, tutors and teachers celebrated a new tutoring program at Hyde Leadership Charter School in December with an end-of-semester party.

The students showed what they had learned over the course of the semester, reading aloud and singing along to guitar music at the Dec. 17 event for the Reading Partners program.

“I have two expectations here today, that you all respect each other and have fun,” site coordinator Elisabeth Kipp-Giusti told the 3rd, 4th and 5th graders.

The California-based program was established 15 years ago to help grade school children improve their reading. The initiative expanded to the city three years ago. The group added Hyde to their list of schools served last September.

Volunteer tutors work one-on-one with students whose reading skills are estimated to be between six months and 2 ½ years behind grade level.

“The fact that they read out loud to a tutor helps them to build up their confidence, apart from improving their reading skills,” said Kipp-Giusti.

So far, 27 students at Hyde are participating in the program. The group hopes to have 40 students in all by February.

Carline Victorian, who commutes from Westchester once a week to volunteer in the program, is enthusiastic about the new program and a chance to contribute.

“They are intimidated at first, but then they start to feel relaxed,” she said.

Parents and caretakers were also grateful for the progress they saw in their children’s reading ability to reading over the course of the semester.

“She came to me and said: ‘mom, can you sign this paper so I can go to Miss KG’s class?’” said Sandra Figueroa, who had a chance to meet her granddaughter’ Tatyana’s tutor for the first time at the December event.

Anyone with a bit of spare time is encouraged to sign up to tutor. Locally, volunteers can sign up through The Hunts Point Alliance for Children.

“There is a lot of support from the community,” said Kipp-Giusti.  Anybody willing to help should be able to do it. To whoever wants it, we will find a way for them to teach and they will learn something,” said Kipp-Giusti.

For more information about the program and volunteering opportunities, contact: or call (646) 481-3002.

Hunts Press / Sandra Santana Mariaca / Source

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