Education Update: Team Read partnership brings volunteers together to tutor and promote reading in local schools

United Way's Brenda Gaines-Ollie represented volunteers at Team Read.

United Way’s Brenda Gaines-Ollie represented volunteers at Team Read.

United Way of the Mid-South has partnered with Memphis City Schools to provide literacy and other tutoring through Team Read, a collaborative  encouraging students to read and matching literacy tutors with students in local elementary schools.

FedEx has a team of sixteen volunteers participating and has contributed $5,000 for supplies including desks, chairs and other equipment for students. A team of United Way staff members also serves as tutors with the initiative.

The Team Read pilot program launched as part of United Way’s Day of Caring activities last year. Volunteers (or “coaches”) made a year-long commitment to give an hour a week to help second grade students with “sight words.”

Sight words are some of the more frequently used words in the English language, making up approximately 50 to 70 percent of general, non-technical text. Learning sight words is an important part of elementary education.

The program was piloted at Winridge Elementary school. A second location was added last January at South Park Elementary.

The pilot program helps 2nd grade students become more proficient readers by 3rd grade. Statistics show that students who are not reading at grade level by 3rd grade may have difficulties throughout school and are more likely to graduate late or drop out of school.

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