"We believe what we're doing will have a huge impact on the literacy rates down the road for a child's future," Karen Bainter, literacy tutor with the Colorado Reading Corps, said. "We are laying a solid, firm foundation for successful reading."
Bainter is with a new project involving Jefferson County Schools, Americorps, and the Lt. Governor's Office. The Colorado Reading Corps is sending 20 literacy tutors into 12 pilot elementary schools around Jefferson County to work one-on-one with kids who are struggling with reading.
"Unfortunately, teachers only have a limited amount of time in their day," Forest Merrill, literacy tutor at Patterson International School in Lakewood, said. "So, I think it's a great idea to give those kids that are just on the cusp of being grade level."
The focus is on kids from kindergarten through 3rd grade. Teachers say if kids are behind in reading after 3rd grade, it will impact their performance in other subjects.
"From 3rd grade on, it's kind of assumed, you have that foundation to build upon," Merrill said. "So, it distracts from the lesson as a whole."
Lt. Governor Joe Garcia visited Patterson on Wednesday to celebrate their partnerships that created this new project in Colorado. Mile High United Way, The Jefferson Foundation, Target Stores, and Serve Colorado (the governor's commission on community service) are all paying the costs of placing the Americorps tutors in these Jeffco Schools.
"We don't really have enough money to do all the things we'd like to do in schools," Lt. Gov. Garcia said. "So, we have to find ways to collaborate."
Bainter says she sees students making progress every day.
"The interventions are excellent," Bainter said. "They're taking control of their own learning."
She says that if they can solve a student's reading issues now, they should be solved when they get to high school.
"I want each of my students to feel good about themselves, as an involved, responsible learner," Bainter said.
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