The mission of the Coummunity Reading Project is to improve the literacy skills of Kern County children through the placement of trained community volunteers in second grade classrooms to assist student reading practice through guided reading.
The Community Reading Project is a program that helps at-risk second grade students get daily one-on-one practice reading with an adult. Volunteers in the Community Reading Project are trained in early literacy skills and guided reading. Guided reading was found to be a key component of teaching children to read by the National Reading Panel in their April, 2000 report. Then, trained volunteers are put in teams of 5. Each team member spends one hour every week in a second grade classroom. During the hour, four children will practice with the volunteer reading books selected by the teacher. Each day of the week, a different team member works with the same four children individually so that the children receive guided reading practice with an adult each day. Volunteers commit to one hour per week for a semester (approximately 4 months Sept.-Dec. or Jan.-May). Students are assessed by the teacher at the beginning and end of semester to chart growth on the Slosson Oral Reading Test (SORT). Children in the program for the fall, 2009 semester averaged 8.3 months growth on the SORT. Those in the spring semester, 2010, averaged 7.6 months growth.
As a reading specialist, I have seen great growth and confidence in the students who are part of the community reader program. I am so grateful to the volunteers who help struggling readers. In my opinion, the volunteers use the best strategies for guided reading and students make great progress! It has also been a great resource for students who have exited my program beause it ensures they continue to practice their reading skills .