The Rapidian

Reading Works in GRPS

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You see and hear it every day. Many of us live and breathe it. These are tough economic times. Mulick Park Elementary Principal Jamie McCabe wanted to do something to ease the financial burden for families at her school. “I knew they were facing foreclosures, they were upset. I heard about the program going on at Sibley. I thought maybe we could help them as well as their children," says McCabe.

That program is Reading Works. It works like this. Parents must read with their children at school for roughly an hour, three times a week for five months. In return, their landlord gets a $100 monthly rental voucher. Flyers announcing the program went home in students’ backpacks this week. 25 children will be selected based on their reading skill level and income. Mulick Park librarian Darline Buckner will work with teachers to custom design each student’s reading materials. Students will be tested before and after Reading Works to see how much the scores improve. But Buckner says the rewards go way beyond the numbers. “The children who are struggling will benefit because they will be reading with their parent or guardian. They will be so excited they (parents) care enough to get involved in a place their kids are proud to be.”

The program is made possible by the ACSET/Community Action Agency and Rental Property Owners Association of Kent County. RPOA's been funding the program the past four years. It was known as Read 4 Rent until this week. “We heard about Read 4 Rent at Sibley. We were looking to sponsor a charity, it seemed like a good fit,” says Tom Koetsier, RPOA President. He and his colleagues hold several fundraisers to fund Reading Works. They also collect hundreds of books to present to students at a graduation celebration. “Some kids who couldn’t read at the beginning are making astounding progress; they are jumping 3 or 4 grade levels,” says Koetsier. At Mulick Park, Reading Works will run from early November to the end of April.

The designated reading time is right after school, at 3:40 p.m. in the library. The deadline to turn in the form is Monday, October 12th. In order to be considered, parents or guardians must provide: a copy of their rental agreement, proof of income, social security cards or green cards, a driver’s license or ID card, and a utility bill or something else with a name and home address.

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