When Damien arrived at W.M. Green Elementary in the fall of 2014, he started second grade about a year behind in reading. He lacked confidence in his ability to read and understand material written for second graders.
His homeroom teacher recommended him for the United Way “Reading Ready” after-school program for struggling readers that United Way and the Fort Worth ISD established at the school as part of the United Way LEARN WELL education initiative.
Through “Reading Ready,” at-risk first through third graders use a research-based curriculum three afternoons a week to improve their reading and eventually read at the appropriate grade level.
Damien worked hard. Today he is a third grader who is “thriving in reading,” according to Bertha Jones, the Reading Ready site coordinator at Green Elementary. Damien’s mother, she adds, is “very pleased with his progress.”
The Reading Ready program has been implemented at 13 elementary campuses in the Fort Worth ISD. In 2014-2015, 621 students participated in the program, a 39% increase from the previous year. Eight out of 10 of them improved their reading ability by one or more reading levels. This improvement has life-changing implications for their lives, because children who don’t read well by the end of third grade are four times as likely to drop out of school.