Friends of Reading

Daily Point of Light # 1239 Nov 3, 1998

During the fall of 1996, Mrs. Georgia Turk, a reading specialist at Madison Elementary School, developed the Friends of Reading program to get more individualized tutoring for her students. The program focuses on second grade students who are in need of specialized attention in the area of reading. Since its inception, the program has grown to include 87 children at three area schools.

Twice a week, volunteers from the community go to their assigned schools and work with three different children, one-on-one, for half an hour. During their session, each child reads a book that is specifically chosen for their independent reading level. As the sessions go on, the difficulty level is increased.

Each volunteer is required to observe a session and go through intensive training before they can work with the children. During the session, they learn about basic teaching techniques in the field of reading. Teachers are also actively involved in this program, donating their time to develop individualized lesson plans for each child and their tutor.

Volunteers involved with this program come from all walks of life, including superintendents, secretaries, retired teachers, former principles, as well as retirees and grandparents. The program gives those volunteers who no longer have children in the school system a connection to the schools and it gives them insight to what is going on in the school system.

Although minimum funding is required for the program, Wal-Mart has contributed $500 per child for reading resources, and the district pays for their annual 'end of the year' luncheon for the volunteers.