Reading is a vital part of early childhood education, but not all children have the means to practice their literacy skills. Reading Partners is seeking to change that by bringing books and tutors to children who need help with reading. “Access to books is something many of us take for granted, but having books in the home is not a given for a lot of families in our low-income communities,” says Reading Partners development manager Emily Holterman. “However, we know that children with books at home score better on reading tests than those without.”
Reading Partners is in the running to receive a $10,000 grant from the KIND Causes monthly grant program, which supports organizations working for a good cause. “Anything people are doing to spread kindness and do the kind thing for their community, small or large, can allow them to participate,” explains KIND's Sarah Black. “The causes then go live with voting on our site. It’s up to the community to decide who gets awarded the grant.”
Reading Partners is doing its part for the community by setting up reading centers in schools and providing volunteer tutors who meet with students twice a week. They also provide a new or gently used book each week for students to take home and keep. “Our volunteers come from a wide variety of backgrounds and range in age from high school students to retirees. Ultimately, what unites them and brings them to Reading Partners is the desire to make a visible and measurable difference,” Holterman says. “They get to see that student grow, learn new things, and develop a love of reading.”
Aside from supporting causes like Reading Partners, metro Denver residents can also promote literacy by hosting book drives or setting up a Little Free Library in their neighborhood, Holterman says.
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Improving their reading skills not only helps children succeed in school, but also boosts their morale. “By having a trusting, caring adult spend one-on-one time with our students, resulting in literacy-achievement growth, students often display an increase in self-esteem and confidence that permeates through both other academic areas and other aspects of their lives,” Holterman adds.