Reading program coordinators recruited
When Sue Lane, a vestry member at Trinity Episcopal Church, Shepherdstown, saw an article in the Virginia Episcopalian about a reading program offered at another Trinity (Highland Springs, Va.), she recognized an opportunity for outreach in her new church community.
Reading Stars is a program designed to help primary school students improve their below-average reading skills. Studies have shown that children who don’t read during the summer start the next year a third below students who do summer reading. As former reading facilitator, Lane knows that reading is a cornerstone of a child’s journey into the future.
Receiving the support of Trinity’s rector, the Rev. G.T. Schramm, and vestry, including funding for materials, Lane contacted the principal of the local elementary school for assistance in making the program known to parents and students in the Shepherdstown area. Brochures were created and materials prepared.
The cost of the program was $25 per child with scholarships available, and no family would pay more than $40. Volunteer reading guides were recruited. No experience was required, just the love of reading and the desire to spend a few hours with the children. The reading guide volunteers attended a training session led by an experienced reading teacher. The public library in town scheduled a field trip for information on the way a library works, the responsibilities of having a library card and encouraged the children to realize they always have a book to read wherever a library is available.
Reading Stars was held on eight Saturday mornings beginning at the end of June and continuing through the middle of August. Each three-hour session included a group lesson, one-on-one reading time with the children, educational games and snacks and lunches prepared by church members. The 2011 summer program was a huge success and plans are already underway for the next one.
“We don’t know who loved this program more,” Lane said, “the families who participated or the volunteers who had the opportunity to work with these wonderful children.”
If you would like to learn about starting a Reading Stars program in your community, please contact Trinity Episcopal Church at 304-876-6990.