Letter: Support your community by helping kids learn to read

Graphic by Lori Deaton

Yesterday, I was looking through articles I saved on education in Asheville/Buncombe and came across a letter from [the Sept. 18] edition of the Mountain Xpress. Tom Ascik had been following the local city schools forums on education and wrote “Can Asheville City Schools Try Another Approach?”

Mr. Ascik wrote a thoughtful article, and a few lines of his letter are the same things I passionately believe as a volunteer reading tutor: “Reading is obviously and by far the most important subject in the elementary curriculum. It is the basis for all other subjects and for advancement to the next grades.” Children “learn to read” in K-third grade, and after third, they are reading to learn. Students who have not achieved grade-level reading by third grade are four times more likely to drop out of school.

Reading supports all aspects of education and life opportunities. I have seen firsthand the difficulties struggling readers experience. For three years, my husband and I have had the pleasure of volunteering as reading tutors for Read to Succeed Asheville/Buncombe. Tutoring our students is a major highlight in our week. Providing the support young readers need to achieve grade-level reading is very rewarding.

R2S is a local nonprofit, and we train volunteers to become reading tutors for K-third grade, providing ongoing support and training. Our tutors are dedicated to our students, and they give time and support to young readers in our city and county schools. We all share a passion for reading, strong belief in education and desire to support the children in our community.

If you are of a like mind, enjoy working with children and are looking for a way to show your support on a community level, please contact me (828-767-0940 or julie.claywell@r2sasheville.org). I cannot think of a better gift to our next generations than supporting them in learning to read.

— Julie Claywell
Volunteer recruitment coordinator, R2S
Asheville

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