'Read365' is changing young lives one day and one book at a time
One in four children in America will grow up unable to read, according to the website ferstreaders.org. Helping students beat the odds and become successful life-long readers is the goal of “Read365,” a new reading enrichment program created by the Charleston nonprofit Meeting Street Schools. Read365 works to increase the literacy skills of fourth and fifth graders by providing students the opportunity to read and analyze literature with adult volunteers.
Meeting Street Schools is dedicated to providing under-resourced students with the opportunity to receive a first-rate education. Since its inception in the summer of 2018 at the Meeting Street Schools’ Brentwood of Campus, the program has helped over 100 students increase their desire to read every day as well as improve their reading scores.
“The research is meaningful when it comes to the impact reading has on a child’s life,” noted Community Relations Lead at Meeting Street Schools Nikki Opoulos Dickens. “We want this program to not only increase literacy skills, but we also want this to help our students grow and develop their love of reading.”
Read365 encourages children to read daily. Fourth grader Zyien is a prime example of the program’s success. She said, “What I love most about Read365 is that we get to learn new things.”
From high school students to retirees, volunteers meet with their partners once a week for one hour to read, analyze literature, and connect. The Read365 volunteers are more than just reading partners, they are mentors, friends, and positive role models. Daniel Island resident Debbie Perry Clapp has been involved in Read365 since the fall of 2018. Her experience with her young student has been life-changing.
“I’ve been able to bond with an amazing young person who inspires me,” said Clapp. “She is planning for college and will be the first person from her family to go.”
Seventeen-year-old Lauren Yates of Daniel Island feels Read365 gives volunteers the opportunity to make a difference in a young person’s life.
“Watching my student’s stumbles and struggles turn into an excitement for learning was one of the most rewarding experiences I have had,” noted Yates. “Observing my student’s progress as we read with one another, watching him slowly start to understand what he is reading, and seeing that light go off in his head was like magic.”
Daniel Island resident David Moehlman started volunteering four months ago and has advice for those who want to volunteer.
“Don’t wait …get involved,” he said. “It’s once a week for an hour and really does help to make a difference. You may not think that you’re having an impact at first but just being there as a support mechanism is vital to these kids.”
There is no previous teaching experience needed to volunteer, just a desire to help students meet their full potential. For more information, check out the Read365 section on the website - www.meetingstreetschools.org or email Nikki Dickens at firstname.lastname@example.org or Daniel Island resident Elizabeth Coulton at email@example.com.