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Students Volunteer at Local School

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Written by: Communicator StaffOctober 26, 2017

Six IPFW students are volunteering with the Project READS after-school program at a local elementary school to help children who are struggling with reading.

Project READS, which is in its third year at Haley Elementary School, is a weekly program for students in kindergarten through third grade who are slightly underperforming in their respective reading levels.

The program partners one student with one volunteer who helps the student with reading and reading comprehension.

Caitlyn Doty, senior elementary education major, said she heard about the program through one of her classes.

“It looks great on your resume, so I was all for the opportunity,” Doty said. “We try to help the students become better readers and find a love in reading.”

Doty said students in the program are able to participate in a variety of activities, group reading, vocabulary games and a snack time.

Each week, the student and his or her selected volunteer find a quiet spot in the school to read together. From there, the volunteer will guide the student through various reading activities and games, said Doty

Each week, the students in the program meet with the same volunteers in order to help the students feel more comfortable in the reading activities.

Raven Brewer, a senior elementary education major, said she has had a positive experience with her student so far.

“My kid has been pretty awesome so far; he is reading really well. He is a great kid to work with, and he’s funny and loves to tell me stories,” Brewer said.

According to the program’s official webpage, Project READS is extremely beneficial to young readers, with 98 percent of participants showing improvements in their reading skills last year.

Additionally, over 80 percent of participants advanced by four reading levels or more throughout the course of the year-long program.

Project READS is a free program that is available to all students in the Fort Wayne Community Schools system, according to the website.

Along with the weekly meetings with volunteers, students in the program also receive new books, calendars and gifts to promote more reading over the summer.

Kacy Gast, a senior early childhood education major, said the program is different from other after-school programs.

“This program is really cool because they focus on fun rather than just another hour of school,” Gast said.

Currently, there are 17 students in the program at Haley.  However, Gast explained that this is not due to lack of interest.

“They only have so many students allowed because there are not enough volunteers. They have a huge waiting list because parents see how beneficial the program is for kids,” Gast said.

Gast also stressed that anyone who is interested in the program should get involved.

“I encourage anybody to get involved because it benefits the children and gives back to the community,” Gast said.

To find out more about the Project Reads program, including how to get involved as a volunteer, visit the program’s official webpage at  abouteducation.org