America Reads Challenge
The America Reads Office in the Department of Counseling and Human Services at ETSU recruits, hires and trains college students to provide one-on-one and small group reading instruction to children in the region who read below a third grade level.
Our program provides local children and youth personalized tutoring needed in order to excel in reading thus boosting their confidence, motivation and overall academic achievement. Educators receive needed assistance in their efforts to ensure student success as tutors complement and reinforce classroom instruction. We also conduct Dr. Seuss's Cat in the Hat and Thing 1 and Thing 2 visits to stress the importance of reading. A literacy event is held each year with a school or community program to showcase literacy skills , encourage children to read, provide books to the children and to promote literacy awareness to parents and community.
Why the need for the America Reads Challenge Program?
- Research shows us that more than nine out of ten children can learn to read, yet national assessments show that a significant number of children are not reaching their potential.
- By fourth grade, children are expected to use reading to learn other subjects. For this reason, kids who reach fourth grade without being able to read proficiently are more likely to struggle academically and eventually drop out of school.
- Reading proficiently by the end of third grade (as measured by NAEP at the beginning of fourth grade) can be a make-or-break benchmark in a child's educational development.
- Three quarters of students who are poor readers in third grade will remain poor readers in high school, according to researchers at Yale University.
- Low reading proficiency also can reduce earning potential and chances for career success as adults.
- Statistics show that 42% kids in the nation’s five-and-under age group had family members sitting down and reading to them less than four days a week, even though research has shown over and over that reading to children daily, modeling a love of reading, and supporting the habit of reading in children yields outsized returns.
- The National Research Council asserts that "academic success, as defined by high school graduation, can be predicted with reasonable accuracy by knowing someone's reading skill at the end of third grade. A person who is not at least a modestly skilled reader by that time is unlikely to graduate from high school.”
(Data sources: Grade-level reading. The Annie E. Casey Foundation. (2022). Retrieved October 12, 2022, from https://www.aecf.org/topics/grade-level-reading ; 2022 Kids Count Data Book. The Annie E. Casey Foundation. (2022). Retrieved from https://www.aecf.org/resources/2022-kids-count-data-book )
The America Reads Challenge is a grassroots national campaign that challenges every American to help all our children learn to read.
How it Helps
The effectiveness of tutoring has been validated by several recent studies, which demonstrated that in a small group setting or a one-to-one setting, tutoring increases students’ achievement (Tham, 2020). This includes students with disabilities and English language learners.
The importance of supporting reading and literacy through tutoring is clear. The America Reads Challenge Program brings together schools and libraries, businesses and community groups, religious institutions, universities, and college students and senior citizens to work together with teachers and parents to support literacy and a love of reading in children.
(Tham, S. Y. S. (2020). Exploring the Self-reflection of America Reads Tutors (Order No. 27834526). Available from ProQuest One Academic. (2426575455).)