Utah AmeriCorps program improves academic performance

read graduate succeedRead. Graduate. Succeed. is a program that utilizes AmeriCorps members as tutoring program coordinators in schools identified with significant need, primarily focusing on students in 1st – 3rd grade who have been identified as not reading at grade level. The STAR tutoring curriculum developed by the Utah State Office of Education is utilized as the evidence based intervention method. AmeriCorps members in each school recruit 30-60 volunteers (based on needs of the school) to serve as tutors who are then trained by the members in the STAR tutoring method to improve reading and literacy rates at schools.

LaDawn Stoddard, Executive Director of the Utah Commission on Service and Volunteerism (UServeUtah), is confident in the impact and sustainable growth of the Read.Graduate.Succeed program.

“Although this program is already in over 130 schools, there are hundreds of schools across Utah that need the power and impact of this program for their students. We are seeing outstanding results in our schools because of this program and we look forward to seeing those results continue and intensify as the program grows.”

In the first 7 years of operation, the program has served 37,418 students with 93% showing significant improved academic performance in reading and 75% reading at grade level by the end of the school year. During this same time the program has recruited over 35,000 volunteers who have served over 790,000 hours tutoring children in Utah schools.

Gloria Skanchy, Program Director of Read.Graduate.Succeed (also known as Read Today) is consistently pleased with the impact of the Read.Graduate.Succeed program and its impact on students. She notes that “Students are showing an average increase in reading fluency of 35 words per minute – a growth rate that is far above what is expected.”

The Read.Graduate.Succeed program is successfully helping students catch up and be on grade level.  Last year the program had 85% of their students meet or exceed grade level by the end of the year.

Due to its successes, the program was submitted and funded as the Utah Governor and Mayor Initiative for the 2013/2014 program year. The new Read. Graduate. Succeed. AmeriCorps Program has an expanded program model that continues its emphasis on grade level reading and now includes a mentoring program in secondary schools, focusing on increasing the number of 7-12 grade students graduating.

Learn more about Read. Graduate. Succeed. on pg. 42 of the 2014 Edition of Transforming Communities Through Service.


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