School aims to keep reading program alive
VAIL – “If you have a half an hour, we have a job for you,” Nancy Ricci, Red Sandstone Elementary principal said. That’s because due to a change in federal funding, Red Sandstone Elementary School lost a reading teacher who taught students who needed extra help.
The former reading teacher, Laurine Megna-Davis, now teaches first grade and said many students still need help outside of the classroom. With the lack of funding, the school is asking members of the community to step in to compensate.Each year the Eagle County School District receives federal money based on the number of students that qualify for free and reduced meals. The funding goes to schools in greatest need; however, this year Red Sandstone doesn’t qualify for the allocation. “Just because we’re a high-income area doesn’t mean that kids still don’t need help,” said Amanda Jensen, organizer of the reading program.To meet these needs Jensen and the school’s Parent Teachers Association are organizing a one-on-one tutoring program for students and volunteers. There are at least 30 kids who need extra reading assistance, Ricci said, and most kids just want to be read to.
Interested volunteers must attend a one-hour training session at the school and pass a background check. Spanish-speaking volunteers are also welcome to read to kids in their native language. Teachers prepare a box for each student with books and materials. The volunteer simply picks up the box and can spend at least half an hour reading to the student and asking questions. They will use different strategies depending on the needs of the students.”The goal is to make a connection with someone and to be a role model,” Ricci said.
Another option for volunteers is for the Reading Rumpus program that rewards students for reading a certain amount of time at home, Jensen said. Since some kids don’t have this opportunity they will have the choice of giving up recess to get in their reading hours between 11:45 to 12:45 p.m.Jensen prefers volunteers to help students from 8-9 a.m. or 1-2 p.m. but the schedules are flexible. The school will offer training to interested volunteers on Wednesday at 5 p.m. in the Red Sandstone Elementary School library.For more information, call Amanda Jensen at 471-4168.Vail, Colorado