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Volunteer Reading Corps program helps our youngest learners

March 06 2013 | no comments

All this month, Detroit 2020 is focusing on education.

Alarmed by poor test scores, people from all over southeast Michigan are helping Detroit students improve their reading skills, starting at the earliest ages.

Detroit 2020 went to an elementary school to see the program at work.
Charlie McFeely is a sales rep for a steel company. But once a week.. For an hour.. He sits with Angelle and other students at the Marquette School on Detroit’s east side.

McFeely is one of the hundreds of volunteers with the Detroit Public Schools Reading Corps Program.

“I’ve been doing it for four years and thoroughly enjoy working with the kids and hopefully sparking some interest in reading, trying to make reading fun,” McFeeley told Detroit 2020.

The program is targeting Pre-k to third grade students, giving them additional one on one help.

“There are, i think, so many children that don’t have the reading skills that they should have or would like to have, and so if i’m able to participate, even in a small way, to help that, for me it’s rewarding,” McFeely said.

On Saturday, the district held a rally to encourage others to join the effort–and hundreds turned out at Renaissance High School.

Improved test scores at Detroit Public Schools show the effort is making a difference.

“Once we put the cry out, they were there and they’re still here and they’re still working with our children…and because of that, we see that the test scores have gone up—and our children, they love the volunteers and they’re learning something and the volunteers are happy,” said Evelyn Mann, Volunteer Reading Corps supervisor.

During our visit.. Charlie and Angelle were enjoying Dr. Seuss.

“You don’t always know how much parental involvement there is with all kids and i think any extra involvement that way is positive. I think it can make a big difference to start reading early and enjoy it and have fun with it,” McFeely said.

“As a principal, i can tell you that right now, as i see it…these children that will eventually go to the upper grade, go to middle school, there’s a difference already, and I’ve been here just a semester, as administrator,” said Christopher Lockhart, Marquette School principal.

Click here to sign up for the Detroit Public Schools Volunteer Reading Corps program!


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