Reading Buddy Program

A Yelm boy is deep into reading a book. A study revealed 96 percent of students who participated in the 2015-16 Reading Buddy program saw improved test scores.

The United Way of Thurston County is looking for more Reading Buddies.

The organization put out a call to action this week, noting that when students are not reading at grade level by third grade, they are four times more likely not to graduate on time or at all.

Reading Buddies spend as little as an hour a week working as cheerleaders of sorts in local elementary schools for students struggling to read at grade level. Buddies also provide support to teachers.

United Way launched a nationwide initiative to recruit a million Reading Buddies to mentor and tutor students. There were 213 Reading Buddies placed in 30 elementary schools in Thurston, Lewis and Mason counties in the 2017-2018 school year. More than 1,000 students were served during that time, with 94 percent of them showing improved reading scores, according to United Way.

Reading Buddies attend an orientation and training and must complete and clear school district background checks. Buddies commit to about an hour a week helping struggling students with extra reading practice.

Reading Buddies are asked to dedicate themselves for the duration of the school year.

To learn more online, visit The United Way of Thurston County can be reached at 360-943-2773, extension 121.

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