A major focus on improving reading for students in Buffalo Public schools is underway. Mayor Byron Brown is calling on those ages’ 50-years and older to become reading tutors. WBFO's senior reporter Eileen Buckley says it's a chance to help city school students become better readers.
“Not only will it make a world of difference in the lives of our young people, it will also make a difference in the life of the person who volunteers,” said Mayor Brown.
Mayor Brown, Read to Succeed Buffalo and the city school district are teaming together to improve student literacy. They appeared in the lobby of West Hertel Academy in Buffalo Thursday.
Read to Succeed was one of only five communities in the nation to receive an intervention grant from AARP. Now they are reaching into the community, calling on seniors to consider volunteering as a tutor at three Buffalo schools.
“But we also know that if children are not reading at grade level by the end of the third grade they are four times more likely to drop out of school and not graduate,” Mayor Brown stated.
350 students will receiving the reading tutoring at West Hertel, Waterfront Elementary and the Lydia Wright School.
Read to Succeed Executive Director Anne Ryan has been working closely with the schools to make sure there is little burden on the teachers.
“Very clear to us from day one, when we came saying we want to partner, was it needs to be supported, it needs to be evidence based and it can’t be one more thing that my teachers have to do,” Ryan explained.
“It’s a great example of the community coming together to support Dr. Cash’s Education Bargain with student and families,” said Will Keresztes, Assistant Schools Superintend.
Will Keresztes tells WBFO News this extra outreach is filling a need in the district.
“So this is a great way to support that first plank of literacy of rigorous early elementary educator for all of our kids,” said Keresztes.
The grant will also allow for literacy coaches. Read to Succeed is looking for 40-seniors to become tutors for students in Kindergarten through third grade, but they must undergo a rigorous screening process.
“They need to be finger printed, background checked and screened through the New York State Sex Abuse Registry,” Ryan noted.
A tutoring information session for those interested will be held Aug. 23rd at the Merriweather Library on Jefferson Avenue in Buffalo from 12 noon to 2 p.m.