Lebanon — A proven program for the United Way of Central Indiana will make its debut in Boone County this fall.
The ReadUP program aims to help elementary students who are below reading level improve to be at that level or even higher. The program has been at Indianapolis Public Schools for about six years, along with other schools in the area.
“One of United Way’s priorities is education, and we’ve really been trying to bring more programs to Boone County,” said Amy Hammerle, volunteer engagement coordinator for the United Way of Boone County. “We know that a lot of our students really need help with reading skills. That was one of our first priorities.”
The United Way has seen this program succeed. On average, ReadUP students’ reading assessment scores are 20 percent higher than those of non-participants, according to the United Way. Nearly half of ReadUP fourth- and fifth-graders reached grade-level reading by the end of the school year.
And there is a need. United Way also reports that two-thirds of Indiana fourth-graders are not reading at grade level. One in five students don’t pass the English Language Arts portion of the ISTEP test. And students who are not on track with reading by the sixth-grade are more likely to drop out of school.
In this program, volunteer tutors will spend one hour per week with two students. The tutors will read with the students and will ask questions about the reading to ensure students are comprehending. They will also help with pronunciation.