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Volunteers Wanted For Succesful Area Reading Program

Aug. 10, 2010

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There's a project taking place at area schools called the Best Practices Reading Class. But what it is is a lifeline for students struggling to stay afloat in classes when their reading level is behind that of their fellow students. The Greater Waco Education Alliance saw that far too many students in the community read at least one grade level below their grade. So they set about trying to tackle it, and the reading class is one result of that effort. Lily Oubre, coordinator of the project at the new JH Hines Elementary School oversaw the class at old Doris Miller Elementary last year. She and other teachers recognized the need.

Sabas Rivera teaches fourth grade at JH Hines. He and fellow teachers found themselves frustrated by the competing demands of teaching required material and working to keep students from falling further and further behind. So teachers and program coordinators teamed up with the Greater Waco Education Alliance, recruiting hundreds of volunteers who take an hour in the afternoon or evening to tutor students. It was a year-long class. And it worked. Fifth-grade students who took the class started well below their grade level. They didn't finish that way.

Oubre is now hoping for even more community participation. It's vital that the project have enough volunteers for one-on-one and occasional small-group invovlement. We hear first from Lily Oubre, and the other fourth grade teacher, Glory Rivera, who happens to be married to her counterpart at JH Hines from whom we just heard.

People interested in volunteering can call the Waco Foundation, where Ashley Weaver coordinates the volunteer training and information. Over the course of the coming weeks, we'll visit the Best Practices Reading Class at JH Hines, and see what makes it work. Additionally, we will check in on the Rivera's fourth-grade classroom throughout the school year, where Greater Waco Education Alliance efforts can mean the difference for students entering middle school just two years from now in a position to succeed. You can hear prior Education Alliance stories online at kwbu.org. For KWBU news, I'm Derek Smith.

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