Now in its third year, Read to Succeed is initiated by Women United through United Way of the Plains. The objective of this program is to improve the reading abilities of third grade students so they are reading at grade level by the end of the year. Third grade is targeted specifically for this program due to the direct correlation shown between students reading at grade level by the end of third grade and the probability of them graduating high school.
Volunteers in the program are assigned to a participating school in the Wichita School District, and commit to serving as a reading coach and listening with a student once a week for thirty minutes. Half an hour once a week may not seem like enough time for improvement, but Read to Succeed reported that in the spring 2016 semester, students participating gained an average of 1.5 words per week, and nearly all students improved to reading at grade level by the end of the year.
At INTRUST Bank, we are proud to have 41 volunteers at 11 different schools committed to being reading coaches. Each reading coach is paired with a third grader reading below grade level, and meets with that student throughout the school year. As the student reads to his or her coach, the coach provides guidance to help the student overcome obstacles and expand their vocabulary. Devin Brogan, a Project Manager at INTRUST, has been participating in Read to Succeed for two years. Devin shared that he is "proud to be able to help contribute to a student’s improvement, but I’m also humbled by the student’s attitude and work ethic."
As a reading coach, Devin is always met with excitement when meeting his student for their reading session, and stated, "over the course of the school year, we’ve both been impacted in positive ways." Students continue to build on their reading abilities, and coaches learn the impact that positive, constructive attention can have on a child. For students, participating in this program means improved reading scores, adding to their vocabulary, and continuing to transition from "learning to read", to "reading to learn".
There are many opportunities to volunteer for Read to Succeed and other programs with United Way.