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July 28, 2015
We are thrilled to welcome Colorado Reading Corps back to Monroe Elementary School for the 2015-2016 school year. This will be our second year of implementation. The tutors are talented, the program produces results for our readers, and we know our students are getting the one-on-one instruction they need.
Learning to read comes more easily to some than others. Essentially, this skill must be bolted onto the brain. It does not come naturally to humans like walking and eating - things we're born to do. We are born to be social creatures and reading and writing are highly-evolved technologies to help us do that. But students born into generational poverty, as many of our students are, do not grow up thinking that reading will get them anywhere in life, nor do they dream of writing the next great American novel. They are too busy wondering from where their next meal will come, or who's house they'll sleep at tonight because they are temporarily homeless…again. These children need more one-on-one attention than our staff can provide. We have around 350 students whom we support with a teaching staff of under 20.
The tutors United Way of Larimer County brings to our school through Colorado Reading Corpsare personable, reliable, and eager to bond with our students. Kids who don't see the tutors ask when they can, and those who do are among the privileged as perceived by their peers.
Here are only a couple examples of the impact Colorado Reading Corps has had on the children in Thompson School District:
These kinds of results occur in a non-traditional learning setting, outside the classroom, using research-based tools with one-on-one learning. Teachers simply have too many students with too high a level of need to service everyone in the way they deserve.Colorado Reading Corps fills a widening gap in our schools.
Our luckier students have parents with jobs, even if it means they work 2nd shift and are not home to tuck in their little ones at night. Less fortunate children are in foster care. Whatever their situation, education is the farthest thing from their young minds. They're worrying about basic needs. Some of our kindergartners come to us with 2,000 words in their vocabulary. Children from middle-class homes with two parents who graduated from college typically come with a vocabulary of 20,000 words.
The individualized instruction, bonding, and simply increased time in text that Colorado Reading Corps provides our students is unmatched by any other program. Thank you from the bottom of our hearts. This is exactly what we need!
Jeannie Sponheim is an Instructional Coach at Monroe Elementary School. You can hear more of Jeannie's story here.
Colorado Reading Corps utilizes AmeriCorps Members and is funded through a state grant from Serve Colorado as well as matching funds from United Way. United Way of Larimer County implemented the program in Thompson School District in August 2014.
Copyright 2015 United Way of Larimer County