New project will ensure third-graders are reading at grade level
SACRAMENTO — As regional graduation rates continue to decline, the Boys & Girls Club of El Dorado County Western Slope, New Morning Youth and Family Services in Placerville, United Way California Capital Region and other partners have launched United Way’s STAR Readers Project.
The project will ensure third-graders are reading at grade level, a key indicator for high school graduation. The project was announced with Mayor Kevin Johnson’s Third Grade Reading Campaign at a press conference earlier this week.
“Through third grade, children are learning to read; in fourth grade, they’re reading to learn,” said Steve Heath, president and CEO, United Way California Capital Region. “Children reading at grade level entering fourth grade are far more likely to graduate high school.”
United Way’s STAR Readers Project uses a three-pronged approach to increase third-grade reading levels: providing after-school tutoring to at-risk children from kindergarten through third grade, providing tools and resources to parents to involve them in their children’s reading and providing summer reading programs for children.
The Boys & Girls Club of El Dorado County Western Slope staff and volunteers will provide direct reading fluency and comprehension activities to 80 students in first through third grades at White Rock Apartments in El Dorado Hills and at a club location.
The club also will partner with mentors from Big Brothers Big Sisters of El Dorado County to work one-on-one with 15 students on literacy activities.
New Morning Youth and Family Services will provide para educators who will work one-on-one with kindergarten students on reading intervention four days a week. The para educators also will work with students in first through third grades on reading instruction. The group will serve 75 students at Sierra and Schnell elementary schools, and counseling will be provided for students needing social emotional stability to participate in literacy activities.
Several other nonprofit partners are joining with United Way to implement STAR Readers: Amador-Tuolumne Community Resources, Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater Sacramento, Sacramento Children’s Home and Sacramento Chinese Community Service Center.
“Thirty-two percent of children in our five-county region will ultimately drop out of high school if we do not intervene,” Heath said. “We also know that more than 56 percent of students in our region are not reading at grade level. We are excited to work with these great partners to make a significant impact on the children in our region — and on their future success.”